meeting with CDOT

We had a very good meeting today with Rick Plenge from CDOT. He thought our concept was very innovative and was excited about it serving as a model for other places in the city. Here is what we discussed:

In order to address the concern about the loss of parking spaces, we discussed the possibility of narrowing the diagonal parking stalls by one foot. This would add back in 3 or 4 spots. John had measured diagonal stalls on Kedzie and some were much narrower than what he proposed. Rick said he thought it was a possibility and would check with other people at CDOT. He also said that because it was deviating from a standard that it may require the alderman to say that he would pay for re-striping if the narrower stalls became problematic. The reason there could not be diagonal parking after the curve near Fullerton was that it would interfere with the ability of garbage trucks to turn onto the street out of the alley. He said once you accounted for that problem, you really only gained one space by doing it.

We had quite a bit of discussion about the back-in parking. Rick felt there were a lot of advantages to it and said it was something they were trying to do more of, but that people were resistant to it because it was something they were not used to. Advantages included that it was safer for pedestrians and cyclists and that children getting out of the car would walk back towards the curb away from the open door instead of into the street. He also pointed out that it is very similar to parallel parking (which of course is backing into a spot) but that it is somewhat easier because it requires fewer maneuvers. He gave us some information about it and told us it currently exists on the 1800 block of Wood St. if people would like to try it out. One thing that is nice about it is that it fits in with the overall mission of the project which is to create a safer street. We thought maybe the way to resolve this was to talk to people about it when we go door to door and take a tally of those for and against it. He also said that one thing that might be good to do whether or not we have resolved this issue is to stripe the street a month or two before the other construction starts to try out the design. If we wanted to try the back-in parking, this would give us an opportunity to try it out without committing to it.

Another thing we discussed was the possibility of doing permeable pavers or pavement in the parking lane. He said he would cost this out for the alderman and then a decision could be made.

So the next step is for Rick to find out whether the narrower striping is possible and then to redo the design. He will also do a version with the pull-in parking. He can also do the cost estimate now since the changes we are talking about will not affect the cost. Once we know the answer about the striping and whether we can add back in parking spaces, then we can start going door to door with the petitions with accurate information about what will be happening.

Once we get a revised design back, maybe we should meet one more time to decide how to move forward and to divide up the block for collecting signatures.