Sep 072010

Stacy Head

Uptown needs better parking enforcement in its residential areas and possibly more parking meters on several blocks of Magazine, the area’s city councilwoman told administrators in a Tuesday morning meeting that dealt with parking issues across the city.

District B Councilwoman Stacy Head, who chairs the city’s public-works committee, described a litany of parking-related complaints she’s received from some Uptown neighborhoods, including Delachaise, Broadmoor, Climana and several others. People park on the street too close to driveways, making it difficult for residents to pull out. They park over the sidewalks, making them difficult for pedestrians with baby strollers or in wheelchairs to pass. On one-way streets, they park the wrong way, making it difficult for others to pass.

Public Works Director Robert Mendoza said his department is still meeting with individual neighborhoods to gauge their desires since Head first brought the issue up several months ago.

“We wanted to allow the neighbors to disseminate the rules,” Mendoza said. “We just want those rules understood before we go into the neighborhoods.”

Noting the high number of renters in some Uptown neighborhoods, Head called the disparity “striking” in their parking situation versus a neighborhood like the Garden District, and urged Mendoza to begin enforcing even routine rules in the neighborhoods she mentioned.

“One ticket will teach you never to do it again,” Head said. “Generally, I’m just sort of a rule person, so I’d appreciate it if you enforce the rules everywhere. But these are the neighborhoods crying out for help.”

On the first few blocks of Magazine Street upriver from Napoleon, Head said the city should consider adding parking meters. People who want to shop for a few hours can’t find parking places among cars that sit for three or four days at a time, she said.

That area previously had no meters because fewer shops were there, Mendoza said, but he agreed that demand for parking circulation seemed to be growing there.

That sentiment was also shared by Betsy Ordemann, owner of the Magic Box Toy Shop and secretary of the Magazine Street Merchants Association – but only in that location, she said. For most of Magazine Street, merchants are frustrated because their customers are continually dashing out the door in fear of expired meters. “We lose that extra sale,” Ordemann said.

Ordemann suggested a more effective control would be better street markings for no-parking zones near intersections.

Unlike the Uptown, Algiers Point is having the opposite concern: parking enforcement there has become not only “inconvenient,” but “punitive,” a handful of residents told the public works committee. The parking program was instituted during the World’s Fair, but several blocks are now petitioning to be removed from it, so they will no longer have to acquire permits.

The Algiers residents did bring one problem to the committee’s attention: parking in the neutral grounds during church on Sundays on Opelousas. District C Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson both echoed that concern.

“If they’re parking on the neutral ground, we can go out there,” Mendoza replied. “I’ll receive my next batch of hate mail on Monday.”

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