Friday, November 9, 2012

More space for bikes, less for cars

Hailey has new priorities for Woodside Boulevard


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

The number of parking spaces along newly reconstructed Woodside Boulevard in Hailey, above, is fewer than before the road was rebuilt and sidewalks were installed. Photo by David N. Seelig

With the redevelopment of Woodside Boulevard in Hailey complete, residents are faced with increased parking restrictions. 

When push comes to shove, some Woodside residents may have to part with unused or surplus vehicles. 

The inclusion of bike lanes and sidewalks along the full 2.5-mile length of Woodside Boulevard has limited substantially the number of parking places available for residents, guests and work vehicles. Parking alongside the roadway is no longer allowed because it blocks bike lanes. Parking on driveways in positions that obstruct sidewalks is also prohibited.

In addition, the City Council passed an ordinance last week prohibiting parking on planting strips between curbs and the end of city rights of way, which applies to the entire length of Woodside Boulevard, as well as to several smaller areas in other parts of the city.

On Monday, city leaders began discussing methods of enforcing the new parking restrictions. City law allows parking for up to 48 hours in several pullout areas along Woodside Boulevard. Police Chief Jeff Gunter said at a city council meeting that some residents are dominating these prized spots. 

Gunter said winter weather and city snowplows will perhaps drive some of these parked vehicles elsewhere, since city ordinance prohibits parking overnight on city streets during snowstorms.

“It may become self-regulating,” he said.

Even so, Mayor Fritz Haemmerle recommended a more proactive measure: reducing the parking limit to 12 hours in order to keep Woodside Boulevard pullout areas available to more people parking there.

“Those spots were meant to be short-term parking,” Haemmerle said in an interview. “Just because you have a pullout in your front yard does not mean that you own it.” 

Haemmerle also said he recently instructed police officers to provide warnings and then start ticketing parking offenders on Woodside.

“This [the new Woodside Boulevard] is a fantastic asset and we are not going to allow people to block pedestrian and bike traffic,” he said.

Haemmerle also said some Woodside residents could consider reducing the number of cars they own if they don’t have room to park them legally.

“We don’t have a restrictive ordinance regulating the number of cars down there, but obviously there is a limited amount of space,” he said. “There are cars parked in some yards that have not been registered since 2008.

“It’s part of our nuisance ordinance that you can’t have cars languishing in yards that are not registered or driveable. We’ll be seeking to enforce this [car removal] through our nuisance ordinance.”


Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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