Faced with a parking dilemma along Elizabeth Street that pitted neighbors on each side of the street against each other, Rochester City Council members on Monday, October 8, opted to rescind an order to prohibit parking on the east side of the roadway.
City councilman Ben Giovanelli summarized the situation by admitting that there was no real solution to satisfy all residents, and that there was no clear winner in the end. "I wish we could just wave a magic wand and make everyone happy, but unfortunately, that can't happen," he said. "We have no way to make this work for everybody."
The parking situation is one that residents say has been heating up for a long time as new homes along Elizabeth Street have made on-street parking coveted real estate between Hill Street and Parkdale. The situation boiled over in January, after council heard complaints by east side of the street resident Julie Morris, who said the lack of sidewalks on the east side and demand for on-street parking had created a safety and nuisance situation.
Presenting a multitude of photos to council, Morris showed council some of the difficulties she has exiting her driveway due to cars encroaching into her driveway apron. She also said her lawn and sprinklers had been damaged by cars parking in front of her home, along with other problems.
City council at that time approved prohibiting parking on the east side of the street between 722 and 754 Elizabeth. However, residents opposing the change responded to council, leading council to call for a traffic study and recommendation from the chief of police.
In June, findings from a traffic study conducted by the Transportation Improvement Association (TIA) were presented to residents. The study took into account parking status, pedestrian safety, traffic volume, speed and crash history. The TIA also followed up with a resident survey that included 43 signatures from 29 homes about whether they would be in favor of parking on both sides of the street, which found three were in favor. The survey also assumed an additional two residents would be in favor of parking on both sides of the street.
Based on resident input and the TIA's findings, Rochester Police Chief Steve Schettenhelm in September recommended rescinding the changes approved in January. Further, he recommended installing a no parking sign believed to have been removed during construction near Delanoy Court; installing two "Keep Kids Alive Drive 25" signs mid-block; and a sign at Hill Street to note there is no sidewalk north of Hill, toward Parkdale.
Council on Monday, September 24, voted to table the matter until the next city council meeting in hopes that a different solution could be found among residents and city administration that might better satisfy a majority of residents.
Rochester City Manager Blaine Wing said no additional solutions had been presented by residents or staff. He recommended council follow the police department's recommendation.
Council on Monday, October 8, voted unanimously to rescind the parking order, following Chief Schettenhelm's recommendation.