For several years, until the pattern was confirmed, the field geography class at Bemidji State University did a survey of parking on and off campus within seven blocks of campus. The results always showed that there were enough vacant spaces in campus lots to hold all of the cars that were parked on adjacent streets. The only exceptions were when contractors were using parts of lots to store equipment and construction materials.
Anecdotally, the parking closest to campus was mostly occupied by BSU staff and faculty who tended to arrive before students. Interviews showed that students spent more time searching for spaces than it would have taken to walk from the first available space or from any campus lot. They claimed to save time when they walked back to their cars after classes. Benefits of walking a few extra blocks were mentioned a few times by students driving in from further away, who headed straight for the John Glas lot every time, so that they knew exactly how long it would take to get to their first class.
The major point was that there was no shortage of spaces for students, faculty and staff on campus. Perhaps this will help as the city tries to resolve this 50-year-old issue.