A draft ordinance that will speed up changing street parking from parallel to angle won the endorsement of the North Park Planning Committee Tuesday night, with a few suggestions. The proposed ordinance will reduce the amount of resident approval needed to a simple majority and will empower the mayor or city council to initiate the changes.
It apparently was introduced by a city traffic engineer and not scheduled for committee review, according to the city clerk, who said it is apparently headed to the city council in June.
North Park residents, with the planning committee's support, have been asking the city to convert streets to angle parking, head-in or back-in, for several years. It occurs on a block-by-block basis, and is usually initiated by street residents. To get the final approval, 75 percent of residents on both sides of the affected street must sign petitions supporting the changes.
"We are a parking impacted area," said committee member Dionne Carlson."These changes have been welcomed by our residents." In its current form, the proposed ordinance reduces the required residents' approval from 75 percent to 50 percent plus one, a simple majority.
Some residents, including Matthew Thompson, expressed concern that the number of residents required to approve the projects — or reject them — was too low. The committee had arrived at a compromise percentage of 67.
"I'm asking you to revisit the peace-making offer of 67 percent and restore it to 75 percent," Thompson said. "I am against the weakening of the residents' say. A simple majority vote could hurt our quality of life."
Uptown resident Leo Wilson noted that the ordinance gives the mayor's office broad discretion to designate creating angle parking. "This lack of accountability can only result in mischief," he said. "At the very least there should be a requirement to go before a community planning group and obtain a recommendation."