December 09, 2021

Council may finally pass parking restrictions

Ordinance affects portion of South Sixth Avenue East, action originally proposed in September

First, the ordinance failed to pass. Then council reconsidered. Now, more than two months after it was originally proposed, the last reading of the ordinance adding parking restrictions to South Sixth Avenue East — extending from East 12th Street South to East 15th Street South — may finally seal the deal.

Newton City Council will review the third consideration of the amended ordinance during the Dec. 6 meeting. If it passes with at least a 4-2 vote, the council may then vote to adopt the ordinance into city code. It seems likely. At the Nov. 15 meeting, the ordinance passed its second reading with a 5-1 vote.

Council member Craig Trotter voted against the ordinance.

According to city documents, the city received safety concerns from residents regarding street parking along the aforementioned section of South Sixth Avenue East. Complaints say the streets are too narrow to allow parking on both sides of the street and still allow vehicles free and safe passage.

One of the primary concerns is first responder vehicles may not be able to travel through this particular area on emergency calls. The streets themselves are 25 feet wide. City documents also state there is a heightened risk of motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents as a result of the current parking design.

Newton’s traffic safety committee reviewed the situations and recommended the city restrict parking on the south side of the affected area.

Surveys were distributed to residents living along South Sixth Avenue East. Of the surveys that were returned, six citizens agreed with the parking changes while six opposed. One resident who opposed the parking changes said there are more cars parking on the north side of the street than the south side.

Another resident agreed and proposed the city instead restrict parking on the north side or have alternate parking. For instance, parking could be restricted on the south side of the street on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, while the north side would be restricted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

A resident who agreed with the proposed changes said too many cars are parked on both sides the street. Another citizens asked the city install restricted parking signs as well. Other citizen testimonials to the traffic safety committee suggestedyellow stripes, signifying no parking, be painted on some curbs near driveways.

At the Oct. 4 city council meeting, residents of South Sixth Avenue East issued their complaints to officials in-person. Mary Kirk argued the neighborhood has never had any problems with street parking. She also said she drives a full-size car and didn’t experience any obstruction issues.

Bill Morris complained the city’s survey results didn’t give a clear consensus to the parking changes, which, at the time, also included restrictions to East 14th Street South and East 15th Street South. Cynthia Gray said the streets only ever seem busy to her during parties or holidays.

When the ordinance originally reached its second reading in October, the council voted 3-2. Council member Randy Ervin was not present at the city council meeting and could not cast a vote. Since the ordinance needed at least four affirmative votes, it failed to pass.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.