By Julia Glendening
Friday, June 19, 2009
On June 15, 2009, City Council deferred the establishment of a permit parking zone near the new Onesty Family Aquatic Center in Meade Park. The Onesty Pool opens on Saturday, June 20 and some residents have expressed concern that the neighborhood will lose parking spots due to overflow parking from a large number of visitors. The press release announcing the center’s opening warned that the pool will exceed capacity in its inaugural weeks.
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City staff held a community meeting on June 4 to discuss possible options to maintain parking for residents in the area. The residents decided zone permit parking would be their preferred option, however, by a 3-1 vote, City Council deferred the issue until their next meeting on July 6 to examine the parking problem after the pool has opened.
The Onesty Pool will have an area of 62,000 square feet, which would require a private developer to provide 104 parking spaces. However, the Planning Commission
granted a waiver on September 9, 2008
to reduce the number of parking spaces to 38.
, the City of Charlottesville’s Traffic Engineer, said the Parks and Recreation Department will shuttle employees from City parking lots in order to reduce parking spaces used by employees. Alexander also confirmed there are bicycle racks and there was a revision to the Charlottesville Transit Service (CTS) route 1A, so a bus will directly access the pool.
“We’re trying to decrease the dependence on the automobile and increase transit, walking,” said Alexander.
Alexander said there are potentially 25 parking spaces along roads adjacent to the property, making a total of about 60 available spaces to pool users. The pool’s maximum occupancy is 255 and residents of the area voiced their opinion about the large amount of street parking which could be taken by pool patrons. At the June 4 meeting, the citizens requested the implementation of zone permit parking on streets next to the Onesty Pool to reserve some spaces for residents.
City staff recommended City Council approve a trial period of a year for the parking permits. At the time of the Council’s consideration, the areas under consideration for parking permits were:
Chesapeake Street from Meade Avenue to Fairway Avenue
During the trial period, the permits would be free of charge. Usually the permits cost $25 each for residents with driveways. If a household does not have a driveway, it is eligible for two free permits. The permit would be required from 10 AM to 8 PM during the pool season and signs would be installed to indicate permit parking locations.
said he was unsure about trying to solve a problem before it was documented. He acknowledged there might be problems for residents who do not have driveways, therefore requiring them to find a parking spot on the street.
“I’m frankly somewhat uneasy about solving a problem before we know it exists,” said Brown. He said he felt this was a preemptive complaint by the residents and the Council should wait to go through the usual permit zone process after the pool opens.
Alexander did not know the percentage of residents without driveways, but said the area does have some houses without driveways. She reiterated this would be a trial year for the permits and the Council could examine the issue again throughout the pool season.
said he approved of the trial parking permits because the residents of the neighborhood decided on this solution and believed numerous people will use the pool, especially in the opening season.
“We sort of created a monster here because [the pool] is going to be such a beautiful facility and I think people are going to want to flock to this facility,” Norris said. “It wasn’t necessarily intentioned as a regional facility.”
Brown recommended the Council discuss the issue during their July meeting in order to observe any parking problems during the first month and then possibly approve the trial period for the permits. Councilor
agreed that he would rather wait to hear complaints before creating a permit zone.
The Onesty pool was compared to the Washington Park pool, which has a greater maximum occupancy of 300 and fewer parking spaces, about 24 or 26. Alexander said there have been no complaints in this area.
The Council voted 3-1 to defer the application of trial parking permits in the Onesty pool area and will be reviewed on July 6.
During the same discussion, Norris said he was concerned about the future of the farmer’s market currently located in Meade Park.
, Acting Parks and Recreation Director, assured him that the market would still be located in Meade Park and said it would have a maximum of 25 vendors, a similar amount to this past year. Daly said the pool would close at 2 PM on Wednesdays in order to keep the market in the same location, but the market might also affect parking in the area.
“Throughout the master planning process for Meade Park, it was very evident among the members of the community and the neighbors that they loved the farmer’s market and wanted to keep it,” said Daly.
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