West U Council Passes on Parking Ban – Lessons on Parking Etiquette Instead

July 23, 2012

The West U City Council has decided not to move forward with an on-street parking pilot program, but will instead focus on parking etiquette.

The council directed staff last month to look into a pilot program for streets 24 feet or narrower for parking on one side of the street, an overnight parking ban and no parking on the street at any time.

City staff came back with a recommendation tonight to not proceed with on-street parking restrictions since there is “no public safety issue being brought forward by emergency responders.”

City Manager Michael Ross told the council that there is not a public safety concern, but there are some areas where the city “can do some good.”

Ross said that city staff recommended responding to street parking complaints in the future on a case-by-case basis by communicating with potentially impacted residents of a block on a street to determine if there is a problem. If a super majority agrees, or 66 percent, there should be a solution studied before proceeding with a study.

Ross said that the city heard loud and clear from residents to “beef up enforcement.” Staff recommended that the city enact a parking etiquette program using shared resources of the public works code enforcement division along with police enforcement.

The plan would be to begin with a “gentler, friendlier approach” and then escalate the enforcement activities to the point of formal warnings and ultimately citation for the repeat violators. This would eliminate affecting non-violators, avoid sign pollution and eliminate causing a problem which may not exist as an unintended consequence.

Staff also recommended providing guidance on the continued enforcement of cars parked on driveways over sidewalks where the vehicle cannot physically fit between the garage door and the sidewalk without blocking the sidewalk.

The council agreed with staff’s recommendations and decided not to move forward with an on-street parking pilot program.

Councilmember Ed Heathcott said he agreed with everything Ross said but was interested in having a pilot program done to see if it would improve traffic flow, to see how residents liked it and to see if there were any improvements.

He said now is a good time to try something and while it would cause a level of inconvenience, he wasn’t sure if it would be more of an inconvenience than it is now.

Heathcott said the street widths are “less than desirable” and trying to get vehicles down a narrow street is difficult.

Councilwoman Joan Johnson said she “agrees wholeheartedly” with a parking etiquette program and suggested putting a flyer on parked vehicles on streets 24 ft. or narrower as a reminder to residents.

Councilman Dick Yehle said he was unenthusiastic about having a variety of parking solutions in the city. He said he supports an “absolute enforcement” of vehicles parked on sidewalks and said residents should clean out their garages so they can park in them.

Yehle also said there are cars parked in the street all over the city that are there for more than 72 hours and he would like to see that enforced.

Mayor Pro Tem Susan Sample agreed with Yehle about parking across sidewalks and the 72 hour parking rule.

Police Chief Ken Walker said that they seldom get calls about cars that have been parked for more than 72 hours, but when they do officers respond.

Sample also said that she’s not for a “hodgepodge” of parking regulations, but would listen to residents who come forward with parking problems on their blocks.

Mayor Bob Fry said he was against doing something throughout the entire city, but was OK with listening to blocks on a case-by-case basis.

“If this is not a public safety issue, I don’t like over legislating people’s lives,” he said.

Ross told InstantNewsWestU.com that the parking etiquette program may be in place by Oct. 1.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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