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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

There must be a better way to address parking issues

Nearly every college community struggles with parking issues, particularly in those neighborhoods adjacent to campus.

Bemidji is no different.

But solutions don't come easy and city officials want to experiment with a parking permit system in the neighborhood bordered by Birchmont Drive and Bemidji Avenue between 10th and 17th streets northwest.

If the city has its way, property owners would pay $30 for one of 112 permits to park on the street in front of their residences from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The permits would be available on a first-come, first-serve basis for residents.

The idea is it would force Bemidji State University students and faculty to park on campus, alleviating congestion and parking problems for the neighborhood.

The cost, the city argues, is to cover enforcement, signs and printing the permits.

The proposal would put the burden of implementing and enforcing the permit plan on the people who already pay city taxes, fees and other costs associated with property ownership.

Many permit holders would be paying for permission to park on the street in front of their homes during a time when many of them are working. The system also would force family, friends or contractors to visit City Hall to gain permission to park in front of a home.

The punishment for violators would be a $10 or $20 parking ticket.

Will it be enough to deter motorists, who may just circle the block looking for open spots during the day and take the chance they'll dodge a ticket?

There should be a more equitable way to enforce parking rather than ask the neighborhood to bear the cost.

Rather than implement the current proposal Aug. 6, the city should go back to the drawing table.


Living green

The inaugural Bemidji Sustainable Homes Tour this past Saturday showcased local residents' efforts to integrate green living into their home designs.

Earlier this year, Sustainable Mondays, a group of like-minded community members committed to living well, began weekly meetings to promote and share resources about sustainable living. The home tour is a direct reflection of their efforts.

The homeowners participating in the tour aim to reduce energy dependence, costs and usage, increase food independence and implement natural and renewable materials into construction. To this end, they opened their homes to the public to show what is possible.