PHOENIX - Some downtown Phoenix residents living in the Roosevelt Neighborhood are expressing concern about parking for Arizona State University students both now and in the future.
Some condo and office building developers waiting for the soft real estate market to rebound are instead turning their downtown land into parking lots for ASU students and others.
That has some members of nearby neighborhood associations worried.
"Ideally, we don't want a parking lot there," said Steve Brueckner, president of the Roosevelt Action Association.
Neighbors said they fear that parking, even if it's temporary, could lead to more permanent downtown lots.
Besides relying on light rail to get students downtown, ASU will also need thousands of parking spaces, according to university figures. This fall, ASU expects to have 4,500 students and as many as 900 staffers on campus, said university planner Richard Stanley.
The school currently has 1,100 parking spaces and agreements to lease 3,400 other spaces some for daytime use only from the city of Phoenix, near Chase Field; the Mercado complex; and the Phoenix Convention Center.
By 2020, ASU estimates it will have 15,000 downtown students and may need up to 6,000 spaces by then.
Hoping to calm neighborhood fears, the City of Phoenix says some landowners must seek a zoning change or special permit to create a parking lot, said Debra Stark, the city's planning director.
"The city also has specific lighting and landscaping requirements," Stark said.
ASU officials said they are still working on a long-term parking fix downtown.
Planning for parking does not include disrupting residential neighborhoods surrounding ASU, Stanley said.