Public input at Tuesday’s city council meeting put the brakes on the City of Denison’s plans to limit parking along sections of four streets.
The proposed changes are designed to ease the travel of larger vehicles, such as school buses, snowplows and emergency vehicles, and were made in consultation with transportation department staff at the public school.
The city council passed the first reading of the changes at its June 18 meeting, but they have now been put on hold for reconsideration.
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s discussion, a meeting was proposed to give affected residents an opportunity to comment if they wish, on the premise that those who spoke to the city council represented only a portion of those that have concerns, and the council tabled the second reading of the parking ordinances changes.
The following changes have been proposed.
- South 11th Street: not allowing the angled parking on the west side from Broadway to one-half block south of 1st Avenue South
Avenue C: prohibiting parking on both sides from North 7th Street to 1st Avenue North; parking is currently prohibited on the southwest side
- 1st Avenue South: no parking on the north side from South 9th Street to South 10th Street; and on the south side from the east end of the return on South 9th Street to 128 feet to the east, where the angled parking begins (no parking from the corner to the start of the angled parking)
- Broadway from 19th Street to 20th Street: no parking on the south side from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Jessica Garcia spoke Tuesday on behalf of her parents, Larry and Peggy Kepford, who live on the north side of the 900 block of 1st Avenue South, across the street from St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and its parking lot.
Garcia explained that both her parents have health concerns and that her mother parks her vehicle in the angled parking on the south side of the street. This allows her parents to walk on a level surface to their house.
She said if the changes are approved, those who park on the north side of the street will end up using the angled parking on the south side, and since anybody can park there, the chances that her parents could find an angled parking stall would be reduced.
She added that when church is in session on Sunday morning, if her parents move their car from the angled parking, they aren’t able find an available space until at least 2 p.m.
Larry Kepford pointed out that when Westbrick recreation and park was sold to St. Rose, the city council in place at that time could have taken into consideration that more traffic would be funneled onto 1st Avenue South and that the city could have extended the angled parking on the south side of 1st Avenue South farther west.
The property where Kepford said the angled parking should have been extended is owned by the church but is in the city’s right of way. City Manager/City Engineer Terry Crawford said he would get an estimate on the cost to create more angled parking.
It was also suggested that the first two angled parking spots on the west side be designated as handicapped parking. That would at least give the Kepfords a greater chance of being able to park there.
Crawford said he would take the points that Garcia and her father brought up and discuss them with Police Chief Dan Schaffer, Public Works Director Doug Wiebers and Street Commissioner Dave Nemitz.
The proposed parking restrictions for the south side of Broadway from 19th Street to 20th Street are for the travel of large vehicles and so school buses can more easily make a right-hand turn off 20th Street to head west on Broadway.
Denison Elementary (20th Street) School is located about one-half block north of the Broadway and 20th Street intersection.
Schaffer said a factor also discussed with the school officials is that a lot of snow builds out onto the street in the winter, and on days for garbage collection, the receptacles get put out further, between the parked cars and the street.
Derek Hoyle, who lives on the south side of the block, said the proposed change would create a safety problem for his family because he would park his car on the north side of the street instead, and his children would have to cross the street.
He questioned why the parking couldn’t be eliminated from the north side of the block instead of the south, pointing out that those who live on the north side have driveways and alleys they can park on.
Councilman Corey Curnyn suggested that to help the school buses more easily make the turn onto Broadway, parking could be restricted from a certain point to the corner on the south side of the block. Councilman Greg Miller also favored that idea. Crawford added that this idea had been discussed and could be reconsidered.
Wiebers pointed out that in most areas of the city, parking has been prohibited on one side of the street to help with traffic safety.
He later added that to prohibit parking on the north side of the street would mean the cars currently parked there would end up on the south side, in front of Hoyle’s home.
Hoyle responded that it would be no different than him parking on the north side, if the current proposal is approved.
Asked why parking shouldn’t be eliminated from one side of Broadway for more blocks, Schaffer responded this had been discussed for 16th Street through 20th Street but that the 1900 block had the issue.
“We don’t want to affect more people than we have to, but this is the block we seem to have the issue with,” he said.
Councilman Nathan Mahrt suggested a separate meeting at which the residents of the areas of proposed parking changes could talk to city officials.
“These are the only people showing up here (at the council meeting) and I could imagine there’s more,” he said.
Crawford agreed that the city should schedule a meeting, offering an opportunity for the residents affected by the proposed changes to give their input.