There’s little doubt that Madison Street could use some breathing room when it comes to the number of parking spaces available versus the spaces needed. Beginning next month, a test run of a proposal that would move employees out of those prime spots is expected to free up at least 100 parking spaces on any given day-that is, of course, if people participate.
Members of an ad hoc group, working with the mayor’s office to come up with solutions to the parking shortage, aren’t kidding themselves about the importance of cooperation. Without a rigorous and punitive enforcement program, it would be impossible to force Madison Street employees to park a block or two south and then walk to their office.
This is precisely why the proposal is all carrot and no stick. Nobody likes being told they have to do something.
The idea is to encourage employees who would otherwise occupy a parking space on Madison Street for the duration of their shift to park along Jackson Boulevard and Adams Street. Participants will be given a permit exempting them from being ticketed or towed so long as they’re cooperating. The plan is really quite straightforward and shouldn’t be a complicated one to explain to business owners and their employees. Both of these factors should work in the committee’s favor.
We’re yet to see whether an influx of cars along these residential streets will be a problem for homeowners, not to mention the elementary school at the corner of Hannah and Jackson. But this is a trial period for what is ultimately a temporary solution to the parking crunch.
It’s good news that residents on this committee had a leading role in developing this plan, and hopefully a little patience will prevail if the road gets bumpy. This is the process that everyone clamored for at the end of last year when the unpopular “Homes for Parking” proposal was on the council’s plate. Keep in mind how difficult it was to swallow that alternative while a group of volunteers attempts to show us a better way.
When the village looked like it might move forward with plans to demolish six residential properties to make way for new parking late last year, residents were appalled that the thought ever made it onto the village council’s agenda. Opponents said such a strategy would likely never have been devised if input from the public were truly being considered. The bulldozers have been called off, and residents now have a seat at the table. Hopefully the community will support its own good intentions.