West U City Council May Try Out No Parking Program on Your Street

July 2, 2012

West U residents who live on a street that is 24 ft. wide or narrower may be forced to participate in an on-street parking pilot program that would dictate where homeowners can park their cars.

The West U City Council will consider three pilot programs in July that could potentially limit parking to one-side of the street, no overnight parking or eliminate parking on both sides of the street.

City Manager Michael Ross told InstantNewsWestU.com that city staff is planning on presenting three pilot programs to council during its July 23 meeting. Staff will computer generate what the streets will look like with signage for each pilot.

While the methodology for picking the streets is unclear, Ross said staff may let council pick the streets or there may be a recommendation from the city’s traffic engineer.

InstantNewsWestU.com contacted the mayor and city council about on-street parking pilot programs and asked if they would consider having a pilot program done on the streets where they live.

Mayor Bob Fry, who lives on Villanova, and Mayor Pro Tem Susan Sample, who lives on Cason, both said they would not want a pilot program done on their street and are not in favor of a pilot program on any street in West U. Sample said she would not want one done on her street unless all of her neighbors wanted it.

Councilman Dick Yehle, who lives on the corner of Rutgers and Duke, said there is already one-side parking on Duke and he sees issues with it. He would not be in favor of a one-sided parking pilot on Rutgers because it’s not an equitable solution, he said.

Councilwoman Joan Johnson, who lives on West Point, and Councilman Ed Heathcott, who lives on Arbuckle, both said they would be open to having a pilot program done on their streets.

Only Sample and Heathcott live on streets that are 24 ft. wide or less. All of the council members own two cars or less and said they park in their driveways or garages.

Fry said he was kind of for a pilot program until he saw the map of all the complaints spread out over the city. There’s not a specific clump of complaints, he said.

Johnson is open to what the best solution is for the city and doesn’t have a preference on what would be the best pilot program at this point.

“I want to do what’s best for safety and I want our citizens to be happy with what we pick,” she said.

Yehle said that to the extent that something needs to be done, and that has yet to be determined, then a pilot program needs to be determined for narrow streets throughout the city.

It has not been determined if the parking problem is caused by residents parking in the streets or tradesmen coming to work in the city, he said. They have also not determined if the problem is safety or convenience.

“I’m not terribly enthusiastic about either of them because we haven’t determined the problem yet,” he said.

Yehle said an overnight ban would be preferable to him because it would address residents parking in the street, would free up space and would cause residents to be accustomed to parking in their driveways.

The elegance of an overnight ban is that is addresses the people who are causing a problem, he said.

“The problem is never going to entirely go away,” he said. “You can’t ban parking all together.”

Heathcott said there are pluses and minuses with anything the council does.

“Whatever we do, the issue needs to be thoroughly discussed,” he said.

Sample said she is in favor of a case by case basis, meaning residents would come forward with changes they would really like for their street.

“I don’t want to push anything down anyone’s throat,” she said.

Rick Staigle, of Traffic Engineers, Inc., told the city council during last week’s on-street parking workshop that 40 percent of West U’s streets are 25 ft. wide or less.

The following streets, or blocks of streets, are less than 24 ft. wide and may be considered for a potential pilot program: Corondo, Cason, Werlein, Sewanee, Carnegie, Talbott, Arbuckle, Centenary, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Barbara, Duke, Fenwood, Lake, Fordham, Annapolis, Charlotte, Tangley, Robinhood, Quenby, Albans, Wroxton, Amherst, Georgetown, Plumb, Nottingham, Mercer, Westchester, Rutgers, Edloe, Spelman, Jane Austin and Simmons.

To view a map of the city’s narrow streets, click here.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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