West U Resident Plurality: The Traffic Solution is Public Awareness and Courtesy, Not More Laws
During the final two town hall meetings, the West U City Council heard from numerous residents about ways to solve problems with on-street parking.
The first town hall meeting had a packed crowed of more than 160 residents. More than 60 people filled the Community Building this afternoon for the second on-street parking town hall meeting and nearly 40 people turned out for the last meeting this evening.
While nothing is being proposed, the council wanted to hear from residents about their concerns and suggestions for improving or changing on-street parking regulations.
Mayor Bob Fry told the residents who came out for the town hall meetings that on-street parking was the number one issue that came up when the council members were block walking for the May 2011 election.
Fry said parking has been discussed by every council for the last 15 years, but this council thought that it needed to be revisited.
“This is an old issue,” he said. “There’s good reason why we have the system we have now, but we decided we needed to look at it.”
City Manager Michael Ross said there are 17 different street widths in West U, ranging from 21 ft. to 35 ft. and 50 ft. on University.
Pictures were projected during the meetings of city vehicles driving down narrow streets, trying to pass by legally parked cars. An ambulance, fire truck and solid waste vehicle were shown in the 3400 block of Georgetown, a 24 ft. wide street, and the vehicles could barely pass by the cars parked on the street.
Of the 49 residents who spoke at the last two meetings, numerous people favored parking on one side of the street, some favored parking permits, while others wanted the council to consider changes to streets on a case by case basis.
Council also heard from residents who were opposed to banning overnight parking, didn’t want any changes to be made and wanted the police to enforce current rules.
One resident suggested that the council raise public awareness before taking any steps to regulate parking.
Keith Cole, who lives in the 3100 block of Jarrard, said if everyone saw the pictures that were displayed during the town hall meetings they would think twice about parking on the street.
“Let’s try other things before regulation,” he said.
One resident who lives in the 4100 block of Southwestern said she was concerned about having guests over and felt like they were at a point where they would have to ask permission to have Sunday dinner.
Mark Roberts, who lives in the 6400 block of Community, said “the biggest problem is courtesy.”
“Leave it as it is unless some streets need change,” he said.
Norman Mahan, who lives in the 3100 block of Wroxton, said residents should be encouraged to park in their driveways and if they did, a good part of the problem would go away.
The council is expected to review the comments and determine if any changes need to be made. The city’s traffic engineer will also review the comments.
Residents who could not attend the town hall meetings or did not get a chance to comment are asked to send the city their thoughts by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.