Some Residents See Ordinance Change As More Of A Parking Issue Than A Safety Issue

March 24, 2009

Several residents showed up at Monday night’s public hearing to show support for an ordinance change that would allow for stub and dead-end driveways for Buffalo Speedway properties. The support seemed to weigh heavily on the side of additional parking, however, rather than the issue the proposed change intended to address – backing into the heavy traffic on Buffalo Speedway.


The ordinance change allows for stub and dead-end driveways for homes facing streets of four lanes or more. The “stubs” allow for cars to turn around and enter the street facing forward.


Kirby, Bissonnet and Bellaire already qualify as “major thoroughfares” which allow for the turn-around areas, but Buffalo Speedway does not. This ordinance would add Buffalo Speedway to the list.


Many homeowners along Buffalo Speedway have individually asked for variances to allow for turnaround space, and the Zoning and Planning Commission decided to address the issue as a whole.


The proposal allowed for a stub driveway with a maximum width of 9 feet, and a maximum length of 24-feet, which includes the original driveway. If the driveway is 12 feet wide, the stub could be a maximum of 12-feet wide as well. The stub has to be two feet away from any building and the property line or sidewalk, and 50 percent of the pavement has to be pervious and planted to resemble a lawn.


This has raised the concern that it will look like residents are parking their cars in their lawns. Audience member and current City Council candidate Steven Segal said he was in favor of the proposal, but suggested that no parking be allowed on the stub.


Almost all of the speakers indicated support for the ordinance – citing parking issues, rather than concerns about backing into Buffalo Speedway. Only one speaker, a new resident of West U., indicated problems with backing out.


Several residents told council and the commission that parking was incredibly difficult along Buffalo Speedway, and many people park on side streets and walk to their destination. One resident said the one time she parked on Buffalo Speedway, her car was hit.


Councilwoman Phyllis Cohen said she thought it was unfeasible to limit parking.


“I think with a driveway, you are going to have people park there, and maybe that’s ok on Buffalo Speedway where you have no where else to park,” said Cohen.


Members of the ZPC said the parking issue was not specifically addressed in the ordinance chance, but the limitations on the size of the stub were meant to discourage it. One commissioner pointed out that there were no limitations on parking in circular driveways, and that was part of the reason no specific limitation were made in the ordinance change.  


The ZPC now has the chance to take comments into consideration before presenting a final proposal for council’s approval.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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