Should U.P. Charge to Park at Burleson?

A lifelong area resident and loyal reader makes an excellent point about University Park’s turf near SMU.

I think someone should look into why the city leaves over 150 parking spaces around Burleson Park without time limits. SMU students/sororities/staff park there for free, in our public parking, all day and all night long. Meanwhile, residents get ticketed for weeds in the alleys behind their homes. That parking represents a valuable asset, owned by UP residents. We pay taxes for it’s upkeep, yet it is being used by a private university for free. The city should negotiate a fee with the school or put up parking meters and get paid if SMU wants to use it. In these days of budget deficits and code violation crusades, this looks like low lying fruit to me.

12 thoughts on “Should U.P. Charge to Park at Burleson?

  • October 5, 2010 at 10:39 am
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    Merritt,

    Here are some thoughts in response to a good question.

    A few years ago the City placed a few 2-hour parking slots there. Recently we added a few more. These steps were taken to assure that those who want to use Burleson Park can do so. If the City adds parking meters to the mix, Burleson would be the only park in the city where residents would have to pay to play. Additionally, if parking meters are added there, some vehicles parked at Burleson would migrate to on-street parking near by. As a result those blocks would become more congested.

    On the plus side, during the past several months SMU has added hundreds of on-campus parking slots. The City and University are discussing methods to maximize use at these locations. Although it’s a few years away, the University’s announcement that it will build more dorms will reduce on-street parking congestion too.

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  • October 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm
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    @ Steve – The “smart” parking meters we have today can exempt UP residents, just swipe your drivers license. Also, the adjacent streets are mostly marked 2 hour parking so students would more likely move into campus garages where they belong. Meters at Burleson would reserve parking for residents and allow others to use them for a fee. SMU is a great asset to our community and the City should work to cultivate our relationship every chance we get. This looks like a situation that could benefit both parties. The school gets their needed on-street parking and the city gets some needed revenue. Why wait for years down the road?

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  • October 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm
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    As an SMU employee and also a resident in the area near SMU that all this impacts here is my view. Currently students are charged about $10 per month to park on campus. Let’s call that about $100 per year. My understanding is parking tickets are about $25 each. As long as a SMU student or employee expects to get four or less tickets they break even or are ahead parking in the area near campus. There are currently people who park on the street near my house all day at least twice a week and do not get a ticket because enforcement is so hit and miss. Seems like these people are just making a good economic decision. Perhaps if they economics changed and it was cheaper to park on campus they would get a permit and utilize SMU spaces. This does not seem like an SMU problem, seems like an enforcement problem from where I live.

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  • October 7, 2010 at 8:12 am
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    Greg- You are right, it’s not an SMU problem. It’s City of UP property left wide open for anyone and everyone to use and abuse. UP citizens will continue to lose out until we start reccognizing that parking in every area of our city is a valuable asset that should to be managed and leveraged properly for the benefit of UP residents.

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  • October 15, 2010 at 7:44 pm
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    Gentle readers,
    As an SMU employee I can say that if SMU lowered the price of parking (and it is quite a bit more than the $100 a year figure that was mentioned)it would remove the incentive for many to park at greater distance on U.P. streets. I should also say that if you metered all of the spots around Burleson Park it would push people to residential streets farther north and west of the park, many of which are not currently restricted in any noticeable way. So for this reason you are better off just leaving it as it is — UNLESS you are prepared to zone large swaths of U.P. streets for resident permit parking only AND spend your tax dollars hiring people to enforce it. I recommend that everybody just calm down.

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  • October 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm
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    I agree with Max. Let’s start charging these kids for these temporary spaces. Most of the local taxpaying UP property owners who use Burleson Park walk there. Free parking for the students just encourages them to park there for more than 2 hours. While we’re at it, let’s encourage SMU to get it’s own fire/ambulance dept also. 50% of the emergency calls for UPFD are to SMU, yet SMU & the students pay NOTHING to the city for these services. It’s time SMU started paying its fair share.

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  • October 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm
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    Josh:

    Frankly, I am prepared to “zone large swaths of U.P. streets for resident permit parking only AND spend your tax dollars hiring people to enforce it.” At least it’d create a few jobs (which is more than the Obama has created in the last 2 years.) Quit being a cheap SOB and get your employer to give employees free parking to get them off our streets.

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  • October 19, 2010 at 8:48 am
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    T-Bone:
    If I lived in U.P., I would indeed consider doing just that — just expand permit parking markedly and stop worrying about it. That was the case in the campus-adjacent section of a college town in the Midwest where I lived before I came here and people (residents and university parkers) seem to have adapted well enough. I’m afraid I have no leverage with the parking authorities at SMU, who seem to want to use the inflated fees to recoup their investment in the garages and who knows what else. I believe things will get somewhat better when all of the current construction projects are done, though many of the spots east of the library will never come back.

    That said, I believe people need to be more civil. Some well meaning U.P. resident put a threatening sign on my car once for parking in a perfectly legal unrestricted spot (and NOT blocking traffic or anybody’s ingress/egress). I simply don’t understand the logic that because a spot is near your house that it is “yours”. Pass the law if you’ve got the votes.

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  • August 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm
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    It has been a while since anyone posted here, and in fact the Park Cities have zoned their streets for residents only. I would like to point out, however, that many of the maligned SMU students who park in Burleson or (formerly) in residential streets are graduate students. These students make $16,000 per year (some make only $8,000). They are commuting to campus from bad apartment complexes where they are robbed and attacked, and often work at night (when they can park for free) to avoid tickets and fees. I understand that parking is frustrating, but please do not paint all of the SMU “students” with the same brush–many literally would have to choose between groceries and a parking sticker. We’ll follow the rules when you’ve made them, but please be nice to us!

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  • October 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm
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    I think that is a good idea – charging for parking around a park, that is. Another good idea would be the City of Dallas to start charging Park Cities residents to use the Katy Trail (to reimburse City of Dallas for the initial expenses in establishing the trail) and for use of White Rock Lake. BTW having an excellent academic institution in the area contributes to the value of your property. If only that percentage could be calculated then somehow used to ratchet down your myopic views in the same ratio.

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  • November 18, 2011 at 10:45 am
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    I see that UP has now decided to make all of these spots 2 hours. This seems quite misguided to me, as in the majority of cases people will walk further into U.P. to park on non-restricted residential streets. I know that I will do so, just to spite you folks, on those rare occasions when I need to drive to campus. SMU has decided to stop subsidizing the DART passes, more or less, only worsening the problem.

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