A few weeks ago I responded to an ad in the Broad Ripple Gazette in which volunteers were sought to help determine the direction that should be taken in regard to a system of residential parking permits in Broad Ripple. That such a program was under consideration was news to me. I e-mailed the Broad Ripple Village Association and signed up. I was sent an invitation to the committee meeting and a confirmation e-mail.
Last Thursday, May 30, about a half dozen folks showed up for the meeting. There have been two parking studies of Broad Ripple conducted, one in 1995 and another in 2007. Goals of the committee include conducting a survey of Broad Ripple residents and businesses about a residential parking permit system. One concept absent from the printed material was a question to be included on the survey, and roundtable discussions to take place, as to whether people and/or businesses in Broad Ripple want a residential parking permit system.
Generally, residential parking permit systems consist of residents of a specific area of a community obtaining---usually for a fee---one or two parking permits, plus a limited number of permits for guests, so that residents can park on the street in front of their homes. The "need" for such a system in Broad Ripple is argued to be present near Broad Ripple Avenue between the canal on the north, 61st Street on the south, Winthrop on the east, and College Avenue on the west. The argument is that people who live in those areas cannot park on the street because there is too much "overspill" of parking from Broad Ripple Avenue businesses---particularly bars and particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. With a parking permit---a sticker or a rear-view mirror tag---residents could park on the streets without hassle. Those without a parking permit would be ticketed, or, more likely, towed. The City is in the process of issuing a contract to a San Francisco firm to handle towing here.
Part of the effort is to "funnel" people who otherwise would park on the streets into the newly-constructed parking garage on College Avenue. As one person on the committee commented, the owner of that garage needs to make back the money he has spent on the garage. I pointed out the garage has been paid for---by taxpayers. I also expressed my view that as taxpayers people who come to Broad Ripple to spend money with BR businesses are taxpayers, too.Apparently the parking permit concept was anticipated as being contemporaneous with the construction of the garage. One would be built while the other was implemented. Someone dropped the ball there. Now the residents of Broad Ripple might actually have a say in whether such a program should be adopted.
I would like input from people as to what should be included on a survey. I believe the first question should be an up/down: Do you believe a residential parking permit system should be adopted in Broad Ripple? Also, I would like to know whether the survey itself should be entirely in paper form or should be conducted, in part, on-line. Going door-to-door between the River, Kessler, Meridian, and Evanston, as was suggested at the meeting, is a daunting task. I think this is important enough that, absent vote on a ballot at election polls via a City referendum, we all need to be vigilant and insist on as many people as possible being given opportunity to expressing their opinions.
If there is to be such a system, please draw up questions about how such a system should be implemented. Also realize the money paid for permits probably would go to the City for administrative costs.
We live in an area where we experience problems with parking on the street during the Art fair, Brew Fest, Jazz Fest, and other events during the year. We do not experience the jammed parking every weekend as do residents in the areas near Broad Ripple Avenue and the bars. However, there are several considerations to consider. First, we should want people to come to Broad Ripple. Second, our goals should not include maximization of profit for a chief campaign donor of Greg Ballard's mayoral campaigns. Third, if a person has had too much to drink, the preferred course is for that person to leave her or his car parked on the street, grab a cab ride or ride with someone else home, and come back for her or his own car next day; a hefty tow bill from a San Francisco firm likely will deter people from the choice of safety. Fourth, do residential parking permit systems really help ease parking problems?
Anyone w/input can e-mail me at marksmall2001@yahoo dot com.