The Standard can now open public parking spots in its residential garage — but some students are worried about the safety of the garage itself.
The Gainesville City Commission voted Thursday to allow The Standard, located at 1360 W University Ave, to open its residential parking lots to the public. The change comes amid an effort pioneered by Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos. The apartment complex can choose whether to allow the public to use the parking garage, which previously wasn’t a permitted option.
Parking in Midtown and on campus is limited and The Standard has empty spaces, and Hayes-Santos said that is why he proposed the change. The Standard is the only apartment building in the area that had the parking restricted against the public, he said.
The Standard has 1,146 spaces in the garage, with 684 spaces available for residents, according to a report from the Gainesville Sun. Another 462 spots are also set aside for nearby businesses — which could now be reallocated for public parking as well.
Hayes-Santos said he spoke with the owners of The Standard at Landmark Properties before bringing the proposal to the Commission, and they are in support of the change. The Standard did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
“Parking in Midtown has been a continuing, worsening issue of being able to find available parking,” he said. “So people who may be visiting their friends can park there or maybe going to the University of Florida. There’s just not really many places to park for the public in the Midtown area.”
Commissioner Reina Saco spoke in support of the change at the City Commission meeting Thursday, saying that street parking is limited and oversold.
“I think opening it up to the general public is the best we can do since the space is already there and empty,” she said.
However, not all residents at The Standard are supportive of the potential change.
Joie Chitwood, a 20-year-old UF marketing junior, said the parking garage isn’t too crowded and there is space for public parking. But he said he’s still worried about too many cars driving around in the garage with tight turns.
“I have almost gotten into a bunch of car accidents in the garage,” he said. “It’ll just become more dangerous.”
Melanie Moreno, a 19-year-old UF public health and psychology sophomore, said she shares similar safety concerns. She parks her scooter in the garage and said people drive recklessly through the narrow lanes.
“It’s already scary enough, so I can’t imagine having a bunch of other people and more cars there,” Moreno said. “I feel like it would just be a risk for a lot of people.”
Contact Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @meggmcglone.
Meghan McGlone is a UF junior majoring in journalism and English, and this year she’s the City and County Commission reporter. In past years, she’s served as the University Editor, the Student Government reporter, and other positions. Her favorite past time is eating gummy worms and reading a good book.