Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Community Activism, aka Bureaucracy

I went to my first community meeting for our neighboorhood association tonight, the Canton Community Association (CCA). Let me backtrack as to why I was there.

Parking on our street has gotten worse since I've moved here. With a tanking economy properties can't sit vacant, paying taxes and mortgages, while potentially losing value at the same time. This has brought renters or caused folks to sell. Both of these causes increased our population density enough to effect parking in the area.

I filled out an online application for angle parking to help increase our parking. Adding angle parking has the ability to increase the number of spots by up to 50%. In an area where garages are rare, and the primary means of parking is on the street, this is a big deal. The request said the city would come out and measure my street, and if it is wide enough (more than 38' wide), it is eligible for street parking. A month or so later we got a letter saying that our street was wide enough, and to contact the CCA. We contacted them recently and were invited to their meeting tonight, which was focused on parking. The city discussed angle parking, garages, permits, and other ways to alleviate the parking issues. Sure there were squabbles and whining about the best way to make parking happen, but I won't focus on that.

Overall it was a good meeting, and I met a lot of folks that will be helpful with this process. Adjacent neighborhoods were at the meeting, including Patterson Park and Fells Prospect. Both communities touting their approval of the angle parking and offering their assistance. It is one thing to deal with bureaucracy to improve your own parking, but offering to help other communities is pretty incredible.

I left the meeting 3 hours later, feeling pretty encouraged and energized. This will be a long process with many battles to come, but I'm glad to see there is some support within the neighborhood and an excellent support network in adjacent communities willing to help. I appreciated seeing neighbors in a room together discussing a common issue. While we may not all agree upon a common solution I appreciate folks willingness to come out and try to change things.


Summer said...

Really glad to hear it went well!!

Jenny said...

how long of a process do the other communities say it takes?

Anthony said...

We got approval and are beginning the petition signing phase for angled parking on our blocks now. Now that the weather is warming up, DOT is going to begin striping the streets that already have their petitions completed so we are hoping to get ours in by the end of summer!

Bob said...

I like angle parking. But there was a lot of nay saying when North Fells was converted. One block on Bank St decided it was a horrible end of the world thing. So they didn't get angle parking. Their street was still converted to a one way, and it looks silly now.

Angle parking only increases parking by about 30%-40%. Street corners and private garages take up a big chunk of space. But on the plus side, one can double park and not stop traffic.

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