The Fruit Belt turned to residential parking permits last summer after neighborhood residents became frustrated by the increasing lack of street parking tied to the growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Now the eastern section of Allentown bordering the campus seems poised to try the same.
The one-block stretch of North Pearl Street between Virginia and Allen streets is the target area.
Finding on-street daytime parking is a growing challenge, residents say.
"It's a little hidden oasis that people are finding out about," said Kelley Rechin, a longtime North Pearl resident, who sees the constant traffic flow and parking logjam on a daily basis.
"All of a sudden, we can't park here. It's always filled up all the time and it's gotten worse because of the scientologists' parking, construction workers and medical campus people," she said. "They just hover down the street and the people who live here (mostly tenants) are getting tickets because they have no place to park."
Rechin has a driveway for herself, but she sees many tenants on the street getting ticketed or circling around the block several times in search of parking.
It's not a new problem, residents and property owners say. It is compounded by early morning arrivals of medical campus employees and construction workers who arrive as early as 7 a.m. on weekdays, gobbling up spots on North Pearl and Franklin Street.
"It is getting worse. It was a problem before the medical campus, and now it's almost an insurmountable problem," said Allentown resident Don Gilbert, who owns five buildings with 54 total rental units on North Pearl and Franklin streets. "The addition of the campus has multiplied the seriousness of how important the parking problem is."
Interest in pursuing short-term permits for North Pearl Street parking is tied to the coming overhaul of sidewalks and the street on Allen Street.
The area – just a block away from the campus border and the new University at Buffalo medical school that opens to students in January – is attracting more residents and workers who jockey for street parking. In the next few months, the campus workforce will swell with employees at the medical school and new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital. Some believe even more campus workers, medical students and doctors will be searching for parking in the neighborhood.
In the last few years, North Pearl Street also has been a hot parking spot for the numerous construction workers who walk the short distance to the campus, residents and neighborhood business owners say.
"The parking is at a premium," Gilbert said.
The North Pearl Block Club last week began discussions about residential parking permits for the street, with talk centered on petitioning the city and state for short-term residential parking permits.
Gilbert says the consensus of the block club is to pursue the permits. There also has been talk of a possible petition effort later this summer.
Minutes of the July 12 club meeting note a forthcoming request for 30 permits for 30 spaces on the "one-side only" side during restrictions as the street eventually becomes two-way during the construction period.
The parking crunch along North Pearl eases significantly after 4 p.m. when parking is permitted along both sides of the street, Rechin said.