DeKALB – Residents expressed their support for proposed parking regulations on Barb Boulevard near Huntley Middle School, which were approved by aldermen during this week’s DeKalb City Council meeting.
City staff also supported approval of the proposed changes, which DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas said will allow residents to be able to get in and out of their driveways, with drop-off zones provided for visiting teams and handicapped drivers. Nicklas said other concerns, such as including Barb Boulevard as a snow route, can be addressed separately from the proposed changes on Monday and the snow routes need to be updated anyway.
“I will go on record now, saying that we will make sure that the signage is updated in language and also, in fact, on Barb Boulevard before the snow falls,” Nicklas said.
The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the proposed changes during the Monday meeting, as well as the April 26 council meeting.
According to the meeting agenda, the regulations will “require resident-only street parking without the need for registering each vehicle, as is the case with neighborhoods where the Safe Streets initiative applies.” Nicklas said something similar also could be worked out for spontaneous guests to park on the street for upcoming graduation parties, for example.
“It occurred to me that we’re not really concerned with the Safe Streets piece of it,” Nicklas said. “We’re concerned about making sure that people have placards, and why not have the same placard for everybody? Give eight or 10 to everybody that lives there and at the end of the year, if you need some more, great, and if you don’t, you have eight or 10 for the next year.”
Other suggested changes included establishing a loading zone for no more than three vehicles at a time for no longer than 10 minutes on the south side, or eastbound, street – otherwise, parking on that side of the street will be unrestricted, according to the agenda.
Parking on the north side, or westbound direction, of the street between South First Street and South Second Street would be restricted, however. All vehicles parked on that side of Barb Boulevard must display city-issued parking tags or risk getting towed.
“The parking tags will be issued at no charge by the Public Works Department and will be mailed annually to residents whose properties front the north side of Barb Boulevard,” according to the agenda.
Barb Boulevard residents Mike Tritle and Tom Riley spoke during the Monday meeting, as well as the April 26 City Council meeting, in favor of the proposed regulations.
Riley said Monday one concern of his was parking on the street during the winter months with how long the road is. He said he saw at one point Barb Boulevard was part of a snow route, meaning no street parking was allowed for two inches or more of snow to allow plows to go through, and he would like to see those snow routes get reinstated.
Riley recalled a time that a neighbor parked in front of his driveway while it was snowing.
“When the snow plows come down, they have to go around the car and then they miss my driveway,” Riley said. “Now I realize people do that, but ... it’s just rough.”
Riley said during the April 26 meeting other concerns of his included drivers speeding down the roadway.
“I look about three or four times before I back out of my driveway because of speeding,” Riley previously said. “You can see them down the block and, by the time you’re backing out, they’re right on top of you.”
Tritle said on April 26 street parking on the boulevard has been a continuing problem. He previously said he has seen cars parked up to three feet away from the curb on both sides of the street.
“And where the straw broke the camel’s back was when a football player got injured and an ambulance needed to be called,” Tritle previously said. “The ambulance had a very hard time getting down the street.”
Tritle previously said the parking situation wasn’t as bad in 2020 because there were no sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the games are starting to become more frequent, he said the problem is resurfacing.
Tritle said on Monday he appreciated city officials’ consideration on the matter. He also said before the council vote he was “whole-heartedly for” the changes that Nicklas made and urged the council to pass the proposed changes.