Parking on Pardee Lane

The “No Parking – Fire Lane” restriction on Pardee Lane will soon be relaxed to allow parking on the west side of the street. For many years, parking was not allowed on either side of the street.

The “Fire Lane” restriction was enacted back when Grants Trail was completed. At that time, residents near the trail were concerned that trail users would fill the street with parked cars creating a nuisance. In addition, a “special parking district” was also created for residents on Pardee Road and Lou Court, allowing only residents to park on those streets via a special permit.

Last fall, at the request of at least one resident, residents in the area were surveyed about easing the parking regulation on Pardee Lane. Some were in favor and others were against. Those against cited concerns about speeding cars and the safety concerns that parked cars would create. There were also concerns about too many cars that would be parked by users of Grants Trail and Grants Farm.

As such, a creative “special parking district” ordinance was proposed for the west side of Pardee Lane whereby residents could obtain parking passes to be displayed in parked cars (e.g., hanger tags). The Fire Chief agreed that parking on one side of the road would not pose a fire-safety concern, but requested that the restriction remain on the east side where fire hydrants are located.

This concept was approved by the Public Works board but failed on a 5-3 vote by the Board of Aldermen. Those opposed felt that the process would be too cumbersome for city staff to manage and for residents to use. At a later meeting the matter was brought back to the board via a “motion to reconsider” procedure.

While I supported the original motion, I also agree that the proposed process was inconsistent with existing city code and would create a new process to manage. Regarding resident concerns of safety and speeding cars, I learned from our Police Chief (and subsequent research) that parked cars actually help to slow drivers and is a common “traffic calming” measure recommended by traffic engineers.

While resident concerns about large numbers of cars parked by trail users could be valid, this isn’t an observed situation, as that parking hasn’t been allowed. Aldermen agreed that if this turns out to be the case, then there will be evidence to justify the need for a special parking district and could be addressed with the existing special parking district process available for those living next to the trail.

Public Works also agreed to post signs along Pardee Lane requesting that trail users not park on the street but use the new Grant Trail parking lot near 8645 Pardee Lane. As such, the Board of Aldermen approved 8-0 the amended ordinance which simply removes the Fire Lane restriction on the west side of the street.

This is one of those issues where some residents will be happy, and others may be upset. I’m satisfied that all sides were heard, and hopeful that overall safety is improved, and trail users don’t fill the street with parked cars. If the results show otherwise, then the method to correct it will be clear and justified.