Student Government discusses student issues with Ames city council

Sam Schulte, Ames City Council liaison for Student Government, kicks off the joint meeting between the two groups on Wednesday evening in the Memorial Union.

Zach Clemens

Student Government and City Council discussed several issues that affect students, such as transportation and housing costs at a joint meeting Wednesday night.

At the beginning of the discussion, Michael Snook, vice speaker of the Senate, asked the council about the trend of rising funding for CyRide and making the system more efficient.

“Every community is responsible for providing a reliable network for transit,” said Matthew Goodman, city councilman. He expressed worry about a buffet style transit system, and that it might create unneeded rides.

Sen. Robert Dunn talked about his concern for the waste in Cyride routes he sees and wondered about ending the 7 Purple route and instead extending the 1 Red.

Sheri Kyras, director of transit for CyRide, explained that the 7 Purple route is a helper route for Red, and there are residents who want and need service, which is why the 7 Purple route was created.

Dunn also said he was “appalled at the city’s failure to maintain the winter roads.” He had personally witnessed a five-car pileup because of slick roads.

Ames City Manager Steve Schainker, said the expectations might be wrong for plowing, explaining that the plow will not blade down to the concrete, and it is everyone’s responsibility to drive slower.

Sen. Abbie Lang asked for an explanation for all the metered parking in Ames. She asked why there were certain restrictions at different locations and days.

“All the city is trying to do is recapture its cost. Parking meters are there to create turnover,” Schainker said.

He said businesses want those parking meters there to promote their businesses and get more customers.

Student Government President President Dan Breitbarth questioned why there was no overnight parking in Campustown for the permanent residents near Welch. Some residents may have to pay for their parking in the middle of the night.

Gloria Betcher, Ward Two representative, said there is a “lot more pressure on parking.”

Permanent residents of Campustown are getting their cars towed because of a lack of overnight parking and believe Ames needs to treat parking in Campustown as more urban than the patchwork way it has currently been treating it.

When the discussion turned to housing, Sen. Danielle Nygard asked if the council had ever discussed putting a pricing cap on rental charges.

Tim Gartin, Ward One representative, said that there had not been discussion of a cap and that the general result of rent control is not a sudden surge in rental housing, but the opposite.

Population growth is across the board, and there is a growing need for housing with the university’s rising enrollment during the last three years.

Betcher pointed out that there will be a Lincoln Way corridor study on housing that might open up availability along Lincoln Way.

Sen. Matthew Teubert said he thought students are underrepresented on City Council and asked if students have the opportunity to run for City Council.

“Absolutely,” Campbell said.

She pointed out that there have been students on council in the past.

The Senate unanimously approved the nominations of Jackie Dale, Brooke Bolam, Molly Ewanika, Noah Collins and Srikanthan Ramesh to the Election Commission, which oversees Student Government elections.