City and Fitchburg State College officials talk often about their great relationship and how one is helping the other move forward, but it's issues like parking that show the two haven't fully ironed out all their differences.
The neighborhood around the college is ticked because students and faculty take all their parking. College students are grumpy because there is no where to park. No one seems to have a good solution to this problem. FSC wants to build a new lot with 150 spots, but that number doesn't seem on the face to solve the problem.
Now, Councilor Ted DeSalvatore (once again) rides into battle. He's getting neighbors to sign a petition that would outlaw students and faculty from the neighborhood's streets. FSC wonders if the city can blatantly exclude one segment of the population from parking. We wonder how the city would be able to tell who is and isn't related to FSC.
The only long-term solution to this problem is to create enough off-street parking to handle all or almost all of the students and faculty. They don't want to use the shuttle system, so they look for street parking. But who pays for a multi-million garage? The school? The city? They won't be fighting over who gets to pay that bill.
The city can set up a resident parking program, but the Sentinel notes residents in resident parking areas now have to pay for stickers. Would the neighbors go for that? Should they? What about excluding parking from one side of the street during school hours?
The city and the school need to sit down and figure out a long-term solution to this problem. It's not going away, and all it's doing right now is creating a civil war between the school and its neighbors. Once again, foresight and good planning are needed. Let's hope someone (this might be a good area for Antonioni and Rep. X to get their hands dirty in) can take the lead on this and figure it out.