A temporary no-parking zone on Williams Parkway has become permanent, but not without a debate about “sign pollution.”
University Park had twice recently prohibited parking on the west side of the parkway during nearby construction projects.
“What we found, with now having a good two and half to three years’ experience in that scenario, is it functions very well,” explained Jacob Speer, director of public works.
Restricting parking on the Williams Park side of the street first gave the fire department a place to keep displaced apparatus during reconstruction and expansion of the city hall, he said.
Doing so again during work on McFarlin Bridge helped with traffic flow and emergency vehicle access on what can become a very narrow street, Speer added. “There is room to get a fire engine through there with cars parked on both sides, [but] it’s a matter of how quickly.”
Council members welcomed the traffic benefits, but expressed concerns about having four no-parking signs on what council member Gage Prichard described as “that little bitty block of what six houses.”
“Mayor, I’m not going to be able to support that ordinance because of the sign pollution that would adjoin our city park,” he initially said.
Prichard later agreed to a compromise plan for using only two signs, one on either end of the no-parking zone.
City staff explained that painting a curb is not enough to establish an enforceable no-parking zone. State law requires signs.
Speer added that when signs are not adequately visible, those who are ticketed complain at Municipal Court and get relief.
“Every time you pass or approve a no-parking ordinance, know that there are signs that go with it,” he said.