Council says no to 83rd Street parallel parking proposal
The De Soto City Council favored aesthetics over equity in shooting down City Engineer Mike Brungardt's recommendation to provide parallel parking on sections of a four-block 83rd Street reconstruction project slated for this summer.
Last Thursday, all five Council members agreed that on-street parking on 83rd Street should be eliminated as part of the street's improvement. Council members agreed with Mayor Dave Anderson that ridding the street of parking would enhance the appearance of one of the city's main entry points.
"I was of the understanding we were trying to get cars off the street," Councilman Tim Maniez said. "I can't really believe we can't find access for those people."
Brungardt was instructed to develop a plan to provide residential parking in the alleys on either side of 83rd Street and provide driveways accessed from 83rd Street.
The asphalt parking aprons that currently line the street will be eliminated with the $650,000 reconstruction, which will also replace sidewalks, curbs, gutters and storm sewers. To compensate for the eliminated parking, Brungardt proposed:
- Eliminate on-street parking from Wyandotte to Ferry.
- Provide parallel parking on both sides of the street from Wyandotte to Delaware.
- Provide parallel parking in front of residential properties on the street's south side from Wyandotte to Delaware.
The proposal was an attempt to find an equitable solution to the residents' parking needs, Brungardt said. Although, some of the home's back lots have room for garages, driveways and parking, others have little or no room, he said.
"It can be done," he said of alley parking. "It can't be applied equitably."
The on-street parking he was proposing would have cost about $40,000 out of a total project estimated cost, Brungardt said. The $40,000 won't be saved with the elimination of on-street parking because the alley options came with expenses, too, he said.
John Shultz, a homeowner on 83rd Street between Delaware and Wyandotte, said he and the other residents on the street he talked to felt "bewildered and betrayed" by the Council's decision. He and other residents were invited to a meeting with Brungardt and the project's design to voice their concerns about the project, he said.
"Nobody from the City Council was there but Betty Cannon, and she wasn't on the Council yet," he said. "We supposedly had that meeting so Mike could hear our concerns. We pretty much wasted our time. It sounds to me like they already had their minds made up. They were just going through the for malities."
Shultz said electrical and gas lines in the alley, together with the expense of purchasing more easement to widen it, would make that option costly.
"I doubt anyone on the Council has ever been down here to look at what we're dealing with," he said. "We would lose a lot of our backyards in addition to our out-front parking. That's a lose-lose (situation) for us."
He and his neighbors would attend the May 1 Council meeting to voice their concerns, Shultz promised.