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Removal of Parking on Alameda
In June of 2019, Prospect residents submitted a petition to County Public Works (PW) to improve line of sight when exiting Prospect. The application requested that parking space on northwest side of Alameda de las Pulgas at Prospect be removed. That was nearly a year ago and since then several important considerations have occurred.
1) County trimmed the over growth and cleared the NW corner on Prospect/Alameda - That helped a bit.
2) County has kicked off the process for implementing a 4-3 road diet to reconfigure the entire Alameda roadway (see Alameda webpage and discussions). This will address many key safety issues, including the issue that Prospect residents experience.
Impact -- pros and cons:
County has sent out a proposal (Feb 2020) to not just limit parking at the NW corner on Alameda at Prospect, but to eliminate ALL parking for most of the area between Prospect and Harkins. County's proposal raises several issues and concerns and there are long term impacts that should also be acknowledged and considered. In short, here are some of the concerns and discussion points:
- While trimming the over-growth helped significantly, it did not totally remedy the issue for some Prospect residents
- Removing ALL this parking is extreme and sets a drastic precedent for virtually every driveway and side street to have all parking removed
- With all parking removed, County plans to swerve all SB traffic towards the curb (see notes at bottom of this page)
- The key safety issue residents experience when exiting Prospect are speeding motorists, this proposal does NOT address this issue
- The 4-3 road diet will address the issue (and other safety issues) for Prospect and all residents (see below)
- Removing parking has a negative impact on safety for all users of Alameda (see Safety notes)
- Only those handful of homes within 300' of that area near Prospect were notified (yet this affects safety for all Alameda users and those residents of nearyby streets)
- Impact issue: when a wedding, wake, party, or other event occurs, where do visitors park? This area, while not highly used, is greatly needed overflow parking for this area of the community
How does retaining Parking improve Safety?
The general consensus of National and Community Safety organizations and the Federal and State highway / transportation administrations is that retaining street parking provides many safety advantages and therefore is encouraged. With Parking:
- Pedestrians have the additional buffer of parking between them and the cycling/motorist traffic
- Allocating parking reduces the width of the roadway and therefore the travel lane width
- With parking and the narrower travel lanes, motorists naturally perceive the road as more residential and naturally drive at a slower speed
- Parking is considered one of the core elements in Traffic Calming that reduces speed of traffic (naturally)
Overview of Current Proposed Road Diet:
Here is what County discussed at the Jan 30th meeting pertaining to the Alameda road diet. The presenter, from Kimley Horn, stated that no parking is lost by the 4-3 road diet. That was good news as County upto that point was planing on removing over 25 parking spaces. The 4-3 road diet cut a way (cross section) looks like this (drag the vertical white bar left and right to see current configuration vs road diet:
Notice that the above road diet preserves parking on both sides of Alameda, adds a much needed center turn/merge lane, provides a dedicated bike lane with buffer, and adds upgraded ADA compliant sidewalks.
This road diet actually addresses the line of sight issues for Prospect neighbors and makes it far safer to exit Prospect, as the road configuraiton is easier for side streets and driveways to enter/exit the Alameda traffic flow due to a single lane of traffic to navigate, use of the center merge/turn lane to negotiate turns one traffic lane at a time, motorists have much better visibilty because motorist traffic substantially further away from streets and driveways.
County Plans of No Parking: An Important Exception!
Here is an important but [somewhat] hidden exception to the road diet safety improvements above. This exception directly affects Prospect and Liberty Park neighbors: County's plans to remove ALL parking between Harkins and Prospect and not use the road diet configuration shown above. This seems a significant step backwards, at least from a pedestrian and resident safety perspective: longer crosswalks, removal of the parking safety buffer for those using sidewalk, and a much wider appearing roadway further agrivating the speeding issue. For Prospect residents, it would seem this would be a worsening of the problem and it adds obstacles to left turns. The following shows County's plan, from the Jan 30th meeting that shows parking removed (even though it was said that no parking would be):
For those of you interested in crosswalk safety, please view a community solution to the Liberty Park crosswalk that is substantially shorter and reduces the danger by removing one of the turning conflicts