Interests of students and city officials diverge, student surveys legislation

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Column by Austin Schmitt. E-mail [email protected]

Each fall since 1865, UK has welcomed its students to campus with open arms. Over that same period, the city of Lexington has performed the opposite service.

Lexington is a college town that refuses to accept the notion. After living in Louisville for 18 years, I had high expectations for the hospitality this city would show toward its “guests” nine months out of the year.

Turned out, my expectations fell short.

I’m not knocking the people of Lexington. I work a part-time job where everybody is a Lexington resident, and last summer, I could not have felt more at home during my first days at the store. My problem is with the city and the group that runs the city: the government.

It’s easy to blame the government for problems, who doesn’t? However, some issues truly are the fault of the government and its senseless perceptions.

Take a quick glimpse back to last school year when the Lexington government did all students a disservice and decided to institute some “innovative” housing regulations. And when I use the word “innovative,” I use it lightly.

By performing research behind closed doors and not taking into account the opinions of the majority of Lexington residents, the city failed to implement anything meaningful and struck out for the most part.

Look to the students of this campus for striking down the ridiculous ideas that began when city leaders looked at themselves in the mirror one morning and decided they wanted to change something that day.

Nothing excites me more than when people in power are undermined.

This country was built on democratic principles, and when the people are able to overturn meaningless legislation, then the system works. When legislation isn’t for the people and works just to satisfy some government representative’s pipe dream gets put into law, it goes against every principle ever muttered in this country.

With that in mind, take a look at the latest attempt by Lexington government to frustrate students. The parking struggles on UK’s campus are well-documented. The Lexington parking struggles are not as well known, yet still exist.

In most residential streets around campus, a parking pass is required to park on the street — this system works fine, and I have no problem with it.

One of the most frustrating parts of living in the Elizabeth Street area was attempting to find a parking spot on the street. A regular part of the morning walk to campus was watching the hospital employees circling

University and State streets looking for parking spots in their attempt to avoid paying for parking.

The problem I have with the parking system is the recent change in issuing permits. Instead of receiving four parking permits per household, residents can now only obtain two for the entire year. In other words, if a house near campus has more than two residents living in the house, then one cannot park his or her car.

Changing this rule doesn’t make much sense to me. This program has been in service since 1990, “to address the negative impacts neighborhoods can experience as a result of too many non-resident vehicles using local streets for parking,” according to www.lexpark.org. Well Lexington, I’m a resident, and I can’t even park on the street now.

I was shocked when I walked into the LexPark office and realized the change. Not 12 hours the night before I was on its website looking at the law. Nowhere on the site did it mention a change. I also couldn’t find anything published that highlighted the change.

Looking at the housing situation from the year before, I assumed Lexington learned its lesson on listening to all parties involved before instituting policy changes. Everyone knows what happens when we assume, though.

In Lexington, students learn at the premiere university in the state every day at the highest level. Part of that learning process involves learning from mistakes.

Why can’t city leaders do the same?