Cars park on both sides of Randolph Street. Photo by Chelsea Gilman.

By Chelsea Gilman

For the past four years, residents of Randolph and Diamond streets have complained about the lack of parking.

Many people are afraid to use their cars in the morning because they fear that when they get back, their spot will be gone. The biggest concern is that most people parked on Randolph Street do not actually live there.

Lexington Police Capt. Bucky Miller says many of the problems are caused by overflow parking during major events at Virginia Military Institute.

At its meeting Thursday, Lexington City Council was to consider a proposal that would require permits to park on Randolph and Diamond streets.

Miller says the permit program would help “the neighbors be good neighbors with each other.”

Under the plan, all residents of Randolph and Diamond streets would be eligible for up to four free residential permit decals. Residents would also receive up to four temporary tags for guests.

Miller says students at VMI and Washington and Lee University often leave their cars parked on Randolph for four or five days at a time.

Some residents try putting out cones to reserve spots, but Miller says this doesn’t work because people in search of parking ignore them.

Under the proposed parking plan, people who apply for permits would have to prove they live on the street by producing a current lease, utility bill or a letter from a landlord. The city also would require proof of car ownership.

Dallas B. Clark, a planning officer at VMI, says he supports the permit-parking proposal. “People park on Randolph Street because they can,” he says.

Clark says he believes permit parking will help “the conflict between who lives and works here and people who come to visit.”

Miller says he also believes permit parking would help older residents of Randolph Street. Many of them leave once or twice a day for doctor appointments or to run errands and their spots are usually gone by the time they get back, he says.

If council approves the proposal, Miller says, people won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot when they return home.

The proposal also would caretakers of the elderly living on the street to obtain parking permits.

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