I received an email about two weeks ago from a local resident, Patrick McCabe, who lives on Fountaine Street. McCabe is concerned about a large three-story house on the street that has several cars out front, some even blocking the narrow road on Fountaine. Come Nov. 1, McCabe is also concerned about the cars breaking Flagstaff’s Winter Parking Ordinance.
According to the City of Flagstaff website, the Winter Parking Ordinance states that cars cannot park on city streets or alleyways from midnight to 7 a.m. This is so the streets can be plowed if it snows or to remove the cinders from the roads. The ordinance is also in effect whether or not it snows.
Because some of the houses on Fountaine are three stories high and house more than 10 people, many residents park their cars in driveways and on the street. McCabe said in his email there are four fraternities that have houses on Fountaine, and when they throw parties the cars increase on the street.
McCabe also said developers are tearing down homes on Fountaine that have been there since the 1900s. The historical significance is being erased to make room for large three-story homes that mostly house large organizations like fraternities.
I’m going to play devil’s advocate and say, if you think about it, it is space efficient for fraternities to buy these large houses because you can fit a lot of students in one place. I’m not invalidating the car problem, but I think it would be better for them to have 12 people in one house than have several houses occupied by five guys in a frat.
But this whole situation leads back to the main problem—there’s just not enough affordable housing for the amount of students that live in Flagstaff. Even with the Hub Flagstaff and The Standard, which are expensive apartments for students, there will still be a housing issue as these big buildings push out local residents. This will be an issue for NAU and Flagstaff for a really long time as President Rita Cheng keeps hitting her quota and admits more students to campus.
More students means more cars. Parking, I would say, is the second biggest issue in Flagstaff. There is just not enough parking for students or residents since students have no other choice but to park in residential areas. I don’t have a car, but my friends who do say the most convenient parking lots on campus sold out within hours.
Cheng’s assistant recently emailed The Lumberjack editorial board to set up a meeting with the president to discuss what topics are important to the newspaper. She also wanted to share updates about NAU with us.
In all my four years at the paper, Cheng has never asked to meet with us. Is it wrong of me to think we can start working toward change for the community and NAU students during this meeting? There is also a part of myself that feels like this will not be a regular thing. How dedicated is Cheng to improving the issues in Flagstaff? It feels like students, residents and even parents are more concerned about NAU's relationship with the community than Cheng.
To the local resident on Fountaine who sent me the email: Thank you for letting me and everyone else you emailed know about the issues in the nearby streets and neighborhoods surrounding NAU. We can’t move toward improving the situation if we don’t know about it and how it is affecting local residents.