The best thing about the Beverly Road business district is that it’s successful, with restaurants drawing crowds from far and near, shops luring gift givers and services providing everything from yoga to hot hairstyles.
The worst thing about the Beverly Road business district is that all of those customers, along with the employees of the businesses and the residents who live nearby, are jockeying for the same parking spaces.
To calm nerves, the municipality convened an ad hoc parking committee and commissioned consultants from Environmental Planning and Design to do an $18,000 study to look at ways to ease the parking problems, which seem to be at the worst at lunchtime on weekdays, and on evenings every Friday and Saturday. Parkers have many choices, including metered spaces on Beverly Road, Ralston Place and Overlook Drive, another 48 metered spaces in a lot behind Beverly Road, and free spaces along residential streets near the area.
That last supply of parking places seems to be the biggest issue, as residents have complained that employees and customers of the Beverly businesses park on their streets, sometimes blocking their driveways, and sometimes not technically blocking their driveways but parking close enough that they still can’t get in or out.
Since October, consultants from EPD have held public meetings in cooperation with the municipality and Commercial Districts Manager Eric Milliron. They’ve compiled opinions and they’ve spent time in the area in question, circling constantly, counting cars every 10 minutes over a two week period.
“At no point in time did we have all the parking that is available be occupied,” said EPD’s Carolyn Yagle.
At a meeting December 8, they distilled the comments and the numbers and presented the roughly nine residents in attendance with 10 suggestions, and had the residents vote with stickers to indicate which ones they liked best.
Four suggestions emerged:
- Convert Overlook between Volta and Akron to one-way. Shift the first parking row in the municipal lot over to allow for two-way entry from Overlook. Seal off municipal lot driveway closest to Akron and add 13 additional angled metered spaces on Overlook and one additional space in the municipal lot.
- Convert all residential parallel parking in the area to permit parking and sign accordingly.
- Enforce the metered parking on Saturdays.
- Paint street markings in front of/around driveway entrances
EPD emphasized that all solutions are a series of small interventions. They did not feel the area needed high cost solutions, such a parking deck, garage or underground parking.
The next step is for EPD to thoroughly vet these suggestions through public safety and public works, to make sure fire trucks and salt trucks and plows have enough room to do their jobs. They also will look at the part policy will play in the changes, such as which hours permit parking could be in force and if non-permit holders would have a grace period before getting a ticket. Once they’ve checked all the details, the matter will go back to the ad hoc committee to review. That committee will present its findings to the municipal commission at a discussion meeting in February. The commission would have the final decision.