Frisco Heights considering neighborhood parking permits

 The Frisco Heights Neighborhood Association is considering implementing parking permits for neighborhood residents.

Association member Carl Crum said he proposed the idea after being ticketed for parking in front of his own home this summer. Signs that read "No Parking School Days 8-4 M-F" are in front of most houses in the Frisco Heights neighborhood. Crum said he believes the signs are only in effect during the TCU school semester as he has rarely been ticketed when parking in the street over the summers.

"The parking permits would allow only residents of each block to park on that block during school days," Crum said. "Right now our street is a TCU parking lot."

There are already two pilot parking permit programs in the TCU neighborhood on Wabash Avenue and Odessa Street because of this problem. Frisco Heights is located on the east edge of campus, bounded by the west side of Forest Park Boulevard, the north side of Berry Street, both sides of Lubbock Avenue, and the south side of Park Hill Drive, making it a popular place for students to park.

TCU added a new parking lot in the Frisco Heights neighborhood. The Lowden lot opened on Aug. 27 with about 380 spaces for commuter students, faculty and staff. The lot can be entered from Lowden Street and is also bordered by Merida Street, Cantey Street and Lubbock Street as its boundaries.

The new lot was opened in response to a widespread need for commuter parking on the TCU campus.

"Honestly, I’m hoping it’ll just help with parking room on our street so we can park outside in the middle of the day," said resident and TCU student Caitlin Despain. "We have a driveway…but we’ve had to double park or triple park it because there had been no spots out here until 8 or 9 at night until the parking lot.”

Despite providing more parking, Crum said students are still parking in residential areas even though the lot is full of cars.

Fort Worth City Traffic Engineer Randy Burkett said the No Parking signs refer specifically to TCU school days. However, Crum said he received a ticket for parking on his own street the day after TCU graduation this summer.

Crum spoke with Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead and with the Fort Worth Municipal Court along with Burkett.

Crum said that while the police department believed the signs were in effect for any day any public or private school in Fort Worth was open, he was informed by the municipal court that the signs were only applicable on FWISD school days.

"I asked the Police Department and the city to please direct me to the calendar that is used to enforce the ‘school days’ policy, along with what streets it applies to," Crum said. "Apparently no such calendar or map exists."

For the Frisco Heights neighborhood to start the parking permit program, the neighborhood association will need the signatures of two-thirds of the residents on each block. After that, Burkett said, the neighborhood associations are in charge of managing the program though the city purchases the initial number of permits and pays for the pertaining signage for the neighborhood.

Association President Alex Clarke said Crum will present information about the parking permit idea at a future neighborhood association meeting.

"We do plan to present information about that but we haven’t done it yet," Clarke said. "It’s something we’re still exploring."

Association Secretary Paula Traynham said the next meeting will be in mid-October and is open to all residents.

"It is frustrating…to live with fear of a $100 ticket every time we don’t move our car[s] by 8 a.m. because of a policy set in place due to a lack of TCU provided student parking," Crum said. "I think the Frisco parking lot is a good start, but it just shows how much more is needed. If it’s full and we’re still full then that means students are still walking pretty far to reach their classes."