Several community members attended Tuesday’s meeting of the Committee of the Whole to offer perspective on the parking policy for 18th Avenue North, which will be reconstructed as part of a sewer separation project.
City Engineer Jason Craft said that the usual practice for streets of similar width is to restrict on street vehicles to parallel parking, for safety reasons. However, business owners on the blocks contend that parallel parking will drastically reduce the number of spaces available to customers. Currently, parking on the street is perpendicular to the sidewalk.
Theresa Burkert said her husband has been a chiropractor in the area for 36 years. Part of the reason the couple chose the location of the business was for the perpendicular parking in front of the store.
“Please leave our parking the way it is,” Burkert said.
Several of Burkert’s neighbors were present at the meeting, and a few expressed similar concerns. A petition was submitted to the committee saying that area residents and property owners could not endorse parallel parking on the street.
The case for parallel parking, according to Craft, has been largely based on safety. To continue with perpendicular parking, spaces would have to overlap the city’s right of way, meaning vehicles would pull up to the sidewalk. Still, Craft recommended that the council heed the wishes of the property and business owners, some of whom have been in the area for decades. The committee opted to send a plan incorporating perpendicular parking to the next city council meeting, with Second Ward Councilman Mike Kearney opposing.