UK Football

City may change rules on game-day parking

On second thought, cars parked on lawns on University of Kentucky home football game days might not be ticketed after all.

The Urban County Council on Tuesday tentatively approved an amendment that would allow vehicle parking on lawns on the days of home football games.

Councilman David Stevens said he proposed the amendment after talking with Lexington police who think it would be difficult to enforce the lawn parking prohibition because of manpower issues.

Officers have plenty to do on game days besides ticket vehicles illegally parked on lawns, Stevens said. Other duties include traffic control, monitoring noise and public drunkenness, and citing on-street parking violations such as blocking of driveways and fire hydrants, he said.

Parking on front yards six or seven days a year isn't a big deal, Stevens said. "If somebody wants to let somebody park on their yard, so be it. And if some neighbor doesn't like it, they can do whatever they want in their yard."

Stevens' amendment still requires two official council readings for final approval. The first reading is scheduled for Sept. 11.

UK will have its first home football game of the season Sept. 6. It's unclear whether police will ticket vehicles parked on lawns on Sept. 6 or if they will continue to look the other way.

Whether police ticket vehicles parked on lawns is a policy decision of Mayor Jim Newberry and the council, said Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin.

That decision might be made in a couple of days. Newberry had already scheduled a Thursday meeting with the neighborhoods surrounding Commonwealth Stadium before Stevens made his motion.

The mayor hasn't decided whether he supports Stevens' amendment, said Susan Straub, Newberry's spokeswoman. "He wants to hear from neighborhoods first."

Earlier this month, after years of looking the other way, the city decided it would begin ticketing vehicles parked on lawns on game days.

Neighbors have mixed feelings about the council's apparent reversal on the lawn parking issue.

Linda Worley, vice president of the Seven Parks Neighborhood Association, said she was shocked the city was reversing its stance on lawn parking without even giving enforcement a try.

It might be difficult for police officers, "but one can always try and then revisit it," Worley said. "It's very bad timing. We've never even tried it."

Parking on lawns negatively affects neighborhoods, Worley said. Streets are packed with more cars than they are built to handle, and people drive over yards that aren't allowing parkers to get to their spot, she said.

For one home game, someone parked in her back yard with half of the car on top of her flower bed, Worley said. "Sometimes they do not respect other people's lots."

Allowing parking in front yards on game days is a more reasonable approach than ticketing, said Scott Brady, who sells lawn parking spots at his Summit Drive home. "It's only five or six days a year. You'd think people would want to help celebrate it."

The money made from selling parking spaces is nice, but "it's not about the money," Brady said. "It's about the fun of being around the game."