Rexburg needs updated infrastructure

In 2009, the city of Rexburg altered the development code to put most of the housing near campus in a pedestrian emphasis zone, which limits parking at housing complexes.

A couple of years later, they passed a resolution allowing for High Density Residential housing in this same area.

As a result, The Ivy, which was the first high density complex to reach completion, is seriously short-handed on parking. Students who drive daily participate in a lottery of sorts in order to get a spot in the complex’s parking lot. Tenants who don’t use their cars as often must rely on BYU-Idaho’s Seventh South lot when parking overnight on city streets is prohibited during the winter season.

In the spring (when overnight parking is allowed on city streets) students buy a city permit and park on the sides of the road in front of The Ivy. What used to be a clean-looking, empty street is now cluttered with parked cars.

While the city cannot control who drives to school and who walks, the well-intended pedestrian emphasis zone may be designed to prevent students from even bringing cars to Rexburg.

Complexes with very limited parking are in the process of being approved as student housing. Managers of such complexes may have to turn car-owning potential tenants away.

Students who don’t own cars have little reason to stay there over other complexes.

This could eventually lead to complexes not filling their contracts in the winter (when people can’t just park on the street). In order to fill spots, these apartments will then tell students to buy a city permit during spring semester, which will then clutter streets.

Most students own cars, and Rexburg is a growing town. These are facts the city needs to come to terms with in order to properly update its infrastructure policies to meet the current population growth trend.

Optimally, the city should require land developers to build on-site underground parking, but an alternative solution could be to build nearby city-owned parking garages.

As expensive as parking garages can be, the revenue can easily be generated for such projects by enforcing already existing laws at intersections around campus (doling out fines to drivers and pedestrians alike). Parking passes for the structures could also serve to pay some of the construction fees. If the city ignores the problem, parked cars will clutter city streets instead of remaining hidden away in the complexes where they belong.

With construction soon beginning on new housing developments, the city doesn’t have much time to fix the problem before it’s too late.

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