Public Hearing: West U Residents Want Limits to On-Street Parking
The West U City Council heard from numerous residents tonight about on-street parking and nearly everyone who spoke was in favor of some kind of change.
About 160 people filled the Community Building for the first on-street parking town hall meeting.
While nothing is being proposed, the council wants 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 meeting 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 other councils, but this council thought that it needed to be revisited.
“We always respect the feedback we get,” he said. “We’re here to listen.”
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 meeting of city vehicles driving down narrow streets, trying to pass by legally parked cars. An ambulance, fire truck and garbage truck 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 24 residents who spoke tonight, some said they were in favor of banning parking, looking at parking on a case by case basis, prohibiting overnight parking and a permitting process, while others said the council shouldn’t be regulating how residents use their driveways and that the police should just “do their job” and enforce existing laws.
One resident said he was struck by a car backing out of his driveway on Community, one resident said she was blocked in her driveway and had to drive over her lawn on Byron to get out into the street, while another said she’s had the fire department ring her bell asking to move cars off the street.
“This is not a popularity contest. This is not about convenience. This is about probability,” said Larry Kelly, who lives in the 3300 block of Georgetown.
Kelly said there are several times a year when fire trucks have had to circle the neighborhood to respond to a call, but thankfully they’ve been false alarms. A minute could be the difference between life and death, he said.
Elizabeth Karkowsky, who lives in the 6400 block of Buffalo Speedway, said parking in not only a problem that happens at night; it’s all day long.
“The problem is safety,” she said, adding that cars drive in the same lane on a two way street and there are always potential accidents. “My children are at danger.”
Sally Leonard, who lives in the 3000 block of Tangley, said she would support no parking on the street at any time.
“Inconvenience shouldn’t trump safety,” she said. “After all it’s a family neighborhood.”
After the town hall meetings, the council is expected to review the comments and determine if any changes need to be made.
The council will meet with residents on Thursday, April 12 at 3 p.m. and Thursday, April 12 at 6 p.m.
The meetings will be held at the Community Center, 6104 Auden, and residents are encouraged to attend.
Residents who cannot attend the town hall meetings are asked to send the city their thoughts by e-mail to email@example.com.