North Texas Daily

Parking restricted on Highland Street

Parking restricted on Highland Street

March 03
00:15 2015

Julian Gill / Staff Writer

As of last week, parking on Highland Street between Avenue C and Welch Street is restricted to clear the way for new bicycle lanes. The restrictions will extend to the west end of Highland between Avenues C and D once construction is completed.

Campus Police are issuing $30 tickets to cars parked in the bike lanes.

“When somebody comes on campus we want them to feel safe,” director of UNT Parking and Transportation Geary Robinson said. “We want them to know they can get from one part of the campus to the other either by walking or bicycling.”

According to a 2012 UNT Transportation Survey Report, 32 percent of students prefer biking or walking to campus as their primary method of transportation.

Dr. Robinson said the parking restrictions, which coincide with the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, are meant to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety on Highland Street.

“The number of skateboarders that I’ve been seeing going up and down Highland in the bike lanes as opposed to the sidewalk…I’ve been impressed,” Robinson said. “I know it says ‘bicycles only,’ but I would rather have skateboarders in the bike lanes than I would on the sidewalk.“

Police said curbside parking along Highland Street in an undesignated parking space has never been permitted, but is now a ticketable offense. One faculty parking area near the intersection of Avenue C has already been eliminated because it interferes with the bike lanes.

The Highland Street Garage and the parking spaces in front of Crumley Hall will continue to offer free 30 minute parking. 

Robinson said the new striping on Highland Street is part of UNT’s Master Plan, which aims to enhance campus circulation for pedestrian and bicycle activity. 

“Anywhere we can safely add a bike lane, we want to do it,” Robinson said.

For the cyclists on the UNT campus, it is a welcome change.

Doug Campbell, an assistant librarian at Willis Library, enforces campus safety as a member of the UNT bicycle and pedestrian task force. He commutes to campus on his bike every day.

“I’m happy to see they’re ticketing,” Campbell said  “Sometimes cars fly down Highland so it gets dangerous, but its going to take enforcement.”

Jazz studies junior Daniel Beckwith usually rides his bike on Highland Street to get to the music practice building.

“I feel much safer riding around campus now,” Beckwith said.

The parents whose children attend the Child Development Lab in Matthews Hall have been directly affected by the restrictions.

Before the addition of the bike lanes, there was a designated pick up and drop off area in front of Matthews Hall. Now they have to use four parking spaces in the lot behind Wooten Hall. 

Construction engineering professor Zhenhua Huang has a 3-year-old in the CDL. He says his child has already been late several times because he has to drop off his two other children in the morning.     

“It’s very inconvenient now because it’s about 500 to 600 feet, and in winter time walking young kids from here to there in the morning is rushed,” Huang said. “Typically in the morning kids don’t want to run.”

Wendy O’ Hern also regularly picks up her 3-year-old in the CDL.

“I hate it,” O’ Hern said. “When we came here, one of the benefits was being able to park in front and collect your child. Now we have to leave work earlier.”

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