A South Marion street sign in the Hollywood-Rose Hill Neighborhood. Since the nearby campus village dorms opened commuter parking has increased on the street. (Photo by Camdyn Bruce/Carolina News and Reporter)
Residents of the Hollywood-Rose Hill and Wales Garden neighborhoods have experienced some issues with loud parties and cars parking on residential streets since students returned for USC’s fall semester.
The relationship between the neighborhoods and students who live in off-campus homes has been mostly good. But the 1,800 students living in the university’s new Campus Village dorms have caused domino parking problems. That means residents who’ve long been dealing with loud parties are now also dealing with a flood of cars parking on some streets.
President of the Wales Garden Neighborhood Association Frank Adams said problems with students in his neighborhood are anomalies, but when they happen, they can be bad.
“They’re sort of like supernovas,” Adams said. “They’re rare and out of the ordinary, but when they occur, they get noticed.”
Many neighborhood residents were concerned there wouldn’t be adequate parking after the Campus Village opened on Aug. 18. They’ve found that daytime parking is a problem at the edges of the two neighborhoods.
The university provided enough parking for students who live in the Campus Village, residents say. It’s the commuter students who used to park where the new campus now is who are parking on neighborhood streets.
Residents who live on the south ends of Bull, Marion, and Pickens streets — the edges of the Hollywood-Rose Hill neighborhood — have seen an influx of commuters.
“Cars are having to come further down South Bull, on our street, to find empty spaces,” Hollywood-Rose Hill resident Gina Crosby-Quinatoa said. “Last year, they were parking closer to Heyward but now they’re having to come almost all the way down Hollywood.”
Vice President of the Wales Garden Neighborhood Association Kit Smith said that a similar phenomenon was happening at the edges of her neighborhood. One block filled with commuters has morphed into five blocks, she said.
“Commuting students have been a problem all summer, and it’s gotten worse,” Smith said.
Anna Edwards, a USC associate vice president for student life, suggested residents call Columbia Codes Enforcement if commuters are parking in front of their houses, as long as the spaces aren’t designated as residential-only.
“Unless somebody is doing something illegal, there’s not much they can do,” she said.
Edwards also said commuters have been directed to park in university lots but USC lacks the authority to force commuters to do so.
“I’ve been very vocal with the neighborhoods that we can’t tell students not to park somewhere where legally they’re allowed to park,” she said.
Crosby-Quinatoa and her neighbors are considering asking the city for a residential-only permit designation on the streets with the biggest problems. Some neighborhoods close to the university already have that kind of designation.
As for loud parties, USC is asking residents of Hollywood-Rose Hill, Wales Garden and the nearby Wheeler Hill to call a city codes enforcement officer who’s in the area on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to report noise and other problems.
Codes Enforcement officials said two callers have reported loud parties so far.
One of those came from Hollywood-Rose Hill Neighborhood president Lynn Shirley, who called on behalf of an elderly neighbor who was trying to sleep.
“To be honest with you, I could’ve walked around and go, ‘Hey guys, cut it out,'” said Shirley, who is a retired USC professor. “‘The elderly person next to you is trying to sleep.’ But because USC has always been telling us report things, this is the number you’re supposed to call, we’re keeping metrics, blah, blah, blah. I did what they suggested that I do.”
Shortly after Shirley called, police officers came to hush the party.
Shirley said the neighborhood also has had some issues with students parking on lawns and not following the proper trash disposal protocols. Shirley said, though, that violators were a minority.
“This is really only, typically, frat-boy types,” Shirley said. “I have one across the street from me, where they party on the front yard with the cornhole things. And then after that’s finished there are 15 beer cans and, you know, cardboard from cases of beer left in the front yard for days.”
The other party reported happened in Wales Garden. Adams said problems often are a result of students lacking experience living independently.
“Partying is not an alien concept to us,” Adams said. ”But at the same time, you don’t bring on the hottest band in town and put them in your backyard and crank it up as loud as you can.”
Despite the occasional hiccup, Adams said he is optimistic that the issues with parking and noise will be resolved.
“It’s the little things,” Adams said. “If we all … take care of them, we’ll get along together. But if we don’t do these little things, then they become burrs and become painful.”
Lynn Shirley, president of the Hollywood-Rose Hill Neighborhood Association and a retired USC professor, used county information and resident interviews to show how many neighborhood homes are rentals as of Jan. 24, 2023. (Map by Lynn Shirley/Carolina News and Reporter)
A view of a Campus Village dorm (Photo by Camdyn Bruce/ Carolina News and Reporter)
On-site parking lot for residents in the Campus Village (Photo by Camdyn Bruce/ Carolina News and Reporter)