HYATTSVILLE – The city council is calling on the community, yet again, to come together in a committee to address the city’s problems. This time, the committee will tackle parking. The city’s struggle with parking problems is no secret to the residents and the surrounding communities. The fight over spaces, permitting and code compliance are […]
HYATTSVILLE – The city council is calling on the community, yet again, to come together in a committee to address the city’s problems. This time, the committee will tackle parking.
The city’s struggle with parking problems is no secret to the residents and the surrounding communities. The fight over spaces, permitting and code compliance are all intertwined with the heated topic, which has been passed from committee, to staff, to council, and back again.
At the Monday meeting, the council discussed the need for the ad hoc, or temporary committee, and the importance of community input on the matter. Councilmember Bart Lawrence introduced the idea of the committee at the Sept. 21 meeting.
The Residential Parking Zone Committee will consist of seven appointed members, ideally with one from each ward, who will “review and make recommendations on city policies related to the city’s residential parking zone program,” the motion reads.
“The committee shall conduct a review of the city’s current residential parking zone program, exploring gaps in service, needs, and best practices, with the intent of developing a set of recommendations for modifying the program in order to better serve parking needs in neighborhoods throughout the city,” Councilmember Edouard Haba said, reading the motion to the council.
The committee, which was approved in a seven to three vote, will make a recommendation to the council within 120 days, after which it will be disbanded.
Councilmember Paula Perry said she initially thought the committee was “an okay idea,” but felt the committee would not get to the root of the parking problem.
“Over a 16-year period, we’ve addressed this many times and basically all you do is put a Band-Aid on it. Until we really get to the root of the problem, nothing is going to change,” she said. “When the Band-Aids come off they’re either the same or worse.”
Both Councilmember Perry and Councilmember Ruth Ann Frazier believe the ultimate problem with parking stems from multiple families inhabiting single-family homes.
“You’re going to go into Ward 4 and Ward 5 and we have a lot of complaints and I’m going to be honest, the root of the problem in those two wards is multifamily homes,” Frazier said. “You’ve got 15 people living in one house.”
Frazier said she has experienced this problem since the 1960s and it has yet to be fully addressed. She said, as it stands, it is difficult to enforce any sort of cap on multiple families in houses.
Lawrence said he does not think this committee will solved the “root problem” perceived by Frazier and Perry. He said the temporary committee should look at recommendations put forth but other committees.
“The Code Committee put forth these recommendations. One of them was to evaluate the 11 parking zones, not just the ones in Ward 4, and also for the city to investigate the cost. Those are things this ad hoc could take on,” he said. “I didn’t expect it to be this controversial and take this much time.”
Frazier also said, despite the desire to gather committee members from across the wards, she hopes the committee is built of “experienced people” rather than those that are simply passionate.
Lawrence agreed and said he would like “fair and reasonable people who, regardless of where they live, to look at this objectively and come up with some solutions that will maybe address the concerns that you have and the concerns that people have.”
Appointments to the committee will begin immediately.