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County Council votes to expand residential parking zone in Wiltondale

The Baltimore County Council voted Monday to expand a residential parking permit zone farther into the Towson neighborhood of Wiltondale in order to alleviate parking problems residents say were caused by Towson University students parking on residential streets.

“It was just becoming increasingly difficult to park in front of your own house, which most people feel like you should be able to do,” said Craig DeMallie, who lives in the affected area and was one of the most vocal supporters of the change.

“I don’t see any other way to deter students from parking in that neighborhood,” said County Councilman David Marks, who represents the area.

The bill expands the current residential permit zone, which is on Cedar Avenue and covers 520 homes, to Aintree Road and parts of Coventry Place and Worcester, Yarmouth and Wilton roads, adding 109 homes.

The roads, near Towson University, are frequently crammed with commuter students during the day, making it difficult for residents to find parking, Marks said.

DeMallie said over the past three years or so, one to two nights per week he has gotten home and seen no parking in front of his neighbors’ houses.

“Fortunately, most of us have driveways,” said DeMallie, adding that residents usually did not have to walk far to get to their houses. “But if you have two cars, you have to double stack them, which is annoying.” He later added, “I only have two cars, but there are others who have three or four.”

More than 65 percent of residents petitioned the Department of Public Works requesting that the permit zone be expanded; Marks did not have the exact percentage, but estimated it was around 80 percent.

The county conducted a study on a small section of roads, then expanded the residential zone into a larger area to prevent people from just parking down the street, DeMallie said.

DeMallie lives in the study area and said 15 of the 17 homes in that section supported the change.

Support for the expanded permit zone was not unanimous, Marx said, with some residents complaining that it was unfair for those without driveways to have to pay for street parking.

Sean Brune, president of the Wiltondale Improvement Association, declined to comment on the resolution.

Steve Walsh, director of Public Works, told the County Council on May 1 that the permit-only zone would give residents a “reasonable probability of parking.”

After receiving the petition, Walsh said the Department of Public Works conducted a study in a section of the expanded zone and found that 71 percent of parked vehicles were not registered to residents.

Permits are $32 initially, and then $12 per year to renew. Residents aged 65 and older are exempt from the fee.

Marks said the permit zone is expected to take effect over the summer.

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