Monday, May 17, 2010

Ten Pounds of ... in a Five Pound Bag

In my last post, I alluded to the parking problem/conundrum/issue whatever you want to call it. I can't pick just one word for it because it's so multilayered. But I'll try, because that's what blogs are for.
Lots of Easton has had its noble old homes cut up into apartments. That's not a new trend; actually, it's very hard if not impossible to convert a home now for the first time. But most all homes that were converted stay converted as there are not enough (if any) incentives for someone to buy a dilapidated and abused slumlord building and return it to its former glory. You will likely never recoup your money and could wind up spending way more than it will actually be worth. The ideal solution would be a family that wants to settle here and restore their home while they live in it (that's what we did, but its our own toil and sweat and tears that have done it, w/ no incentive or encouragement from the city).
Which gets us back to parking. This fine city was laid out before cars existed so no thought was given to making room for them. this was actually ok for many years ans families used to not have but one car if any at all. Ward Cleaver worked at the mill or took the train to work, while June stayed home with the little ones and the bigger kids walked to school.
then two things happened which conspired together to make our current situation so difficult; more affordable cars (or at least easier credit) and more apartments. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there just isn't room for all the cars that all the residents 'need' to have.
back to my own deconversion story; when we bought our home 15 years ago, we didn't have much money. the home defined "fixer-upper". well, more as a clean, clean, cleaner upper. it was classified as a two-unit, which means my utility bill was charging me double water, sewer and trash pickup. SO we approached the city to convert. they warned us that we would likely never be able to go back; that was fine as I had every intention of living here ourselves.
here's the kicker; the letter of approval we received stated that there would be less impact on parking, as a single family home has TWO cars, but a two-unit apartment would have THREE cars. huh?!?
On my block, on only ONE side of the street, there are TEN units- two single family homes, and 4 buildings each w/ two units (and two units are vacant right now). Guess how many cars.
go ahead, guess.
At least TWENTY. I say at least, because one unit has a rotating selection of vehicles that come and go for days at a time, as well as a changing assortment of residents.
Remember, this is on ONE side of the street. On the other side, there are only seven or eight cars. but each property has only about 20' to 25' of width, or about one and a half cars length.
add to this the inability of most people to parallel park (they leave large gaps between cars) and we have our problem.
(BTW, we have only one car so I claim 'freedom to speak')
I would propose a solution like they have downtown. if the city extended permit parking to our area, and/or marked, metered parking, the situation could be controlled. Marked spots would give people a clue as to how much room to take up. they are used to that; Wal Mart has marked spots.
Issue two parking permits to each BUILDING, not per UNIT (so a two unit would have one parking permit each). charge like $100/year for each additional one.
Any other ideas?

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