Parking Will Not Be "Permitted"
Once again, neighbors packed the gym at North Light Community Center for Manayunk Neighborhood Council's permit parking meeting. The goal of the meeting was to answer questions and hear comments and suggestions from residents, and then VOTE!
The proposed permit parking area is bounded, roughly, by Green Lane, Silverwood, Grape, and Cresson. The area contains nearly 400 homes.
Manayunk Neighborhood Council presented this plan in an effort to return parking to the residents. The Council believes that two groups of people are seriously impacting parking in the neighborhood. An increasing number of transient renters in housing that holds three to five unrelated adults, each with a car, and customers and employees of Main Street take parking away from the residents. With these groups eliminated, the parking situation will be eased but not solved.
When the audience was asked "How many of you have one out of state license plate on your block?", the answer from the crowd was a sea of hands. "Two out of state plates?" "Three out of state plate?" Still a sea of hands!
Unlike last month's meeting, this one proceeded smoothly with people stepping up to the microphone to ask their questions or make their statements. Questions were handled by a panel made up of Rick Dickson and Jim Ney from the Philadelphia Parking Authority, Councilman Michael Nutter, and Jane Glenn and Gerald Harrison of MNC.
Everyone agreed that parking is terrible. Several people thought parking on Main Street should be free. Some complained that the City should enforce the 'rental' laws. A few wanted a guarantee that they could park in front of their house. The difficulty of obtaining visitor passes was referred to as a major weakness in the program. Residents with their cars registered in other areas complained that the program was too restrictive. Many offered other solutions such as making more parking lots. Most people felt that permit parking would not solve their problem. Some people, while admitting the program wasn't perfect, thought it was a step in the right direction and better than what they had now. One gentleman offered to pay for anyone not able to afford the yearly fee.
Concerns were raised at the last meeting about taking the votes of people who were housebound or unable to attend the meeting. MN offered the option of keeping the ballot box sealed and taking one week to collect ballots from those who could not make the meeting. There was enough division among the neighbors that it was put to a. vote. In a close decision the neighbors chose to end voting and to count the ballots at the end of the meeting.
When the final tally was in, it was not even close. Of the approximately 100 people at the meeting, 69 ballots were
submitted from residents in the target district. They voted a clear 'No' with 46 against permit parking and 21 for it. While much had been said about the cost of the program ($35 per car for the first year and $20 per car each year after), only five people said they would switch their vote from no to yes if the pilot program were free. Two ballots skipped the first question. Of those, one voted in favor of a free trial period and the other voted no on all other questions.
Seventeen ballots were turned in from residents outside the proposed district. Those votes returned a similar response with 12 voting 'No' and only 3 voting
'yes'. Two ballots wanted the free trial period. Again two skipped the first question. Of those, one wanted permit parking if the area were different and their comment was for'the whole area of Manayunk'. The other ballot skipped all the questions and only entered comments.
Manayunk Neighborhood Council will continue to work on parking problems. The comments will be passed along to the business community and city officials. We will meet with them to discuss ways to ease the hardship placed on the residents.
The following are comments, of which there were many, written on the ballots by neighbors with definite opinions. The first concern the proposed area.
It would be appropriate to consider Cotton St. & Roxborough Ave. between Silverwood St. & Tower St.
Widen the streets, make smaller sidewalks, build multilevel lot on Gay St. Then talk about Permit Parking.
Shurs Ln.. to Leverington Ave., Cresson St. to Silverwood; 8AM to 7PM Mon to Sun.
Should come up with a better plan for the people of Manayunk Give us a break.
We must do something.
On the issue of cost came these responses:
Free parking on Main St. Let's vote on solutions riot only one solution.
Free permit parking for residents.
I would like the trial period to be free too.
Enforce the no-more-than-3-unrelated-adults to a house law! Implement the same parking program as Chestnut Hill!
Enhance public transportation.. Encourage or require business participation in subsidized parking.
Raise money from Main Street businesses and parking lots along w/Phila government to pay for a couple of three story parking buildings.
Free parking in parking lots on Main Street.
Free parking lot for homeowners.
My reason for all not votes is based on that I own my own house in Manayunk but have a home in another state where my car is registered.
MDC and the City started this mess. Let them solve it without permit parking. I feel as if they are trying to get the old people to move.
Totally against the whole program. This system would not work well in our area. South Street Yes. Manayunk - No. Let accountability fall, at least in part, on the businesses benefiting from the development. Or how about reconfiguring any available vacant land (except for parks) for pay parking for those who benefit from the shops on Main St.
Sundays should be regulated too.
Solicit the business community to establish more parking facilities to accommodate the businesses on Main Street which contribute to the majority of the parking problem.
What about all the people who 'hold' parking spots with trash cans and cones? It isn't fair and isn't it against the law?
Clarify the issue of guests for homeowners in the area. This needs to be a simple, easy way to obtain guest permits. The 1st suggestion for easy ways to obtain guest permits would be internet.
Night hours only - 10 PM - 7 AM.
Build a parking garage - Minimal cost. Limit number of cars per household Local churches should have parking for a fee for special Manayunk events.! People should want to come to Manayunk to support local business. Make it easier by having more parking available. Yore can still charge & make $$$ too. Stop the "cone "people.
It still not change any thing people are going to fight and cause other problems.
Need something, this is not answer!
I feel that one should be eligible for a permit so long as you are a resident of Manayunk, regardless of where your car is registered.
More public lots around Main St.
Make MDC pay for free parking and build more parking not apartments.
But free permits to residents & guests combined with VERY relaxed ticketing of legal cars with permits.
But one concession might be to up the time to 3 hours. All nights end at midnight, not ever as late as 2 AM.
Relax ticketing against people parking on sidewalks + alleyways. Don't require cars to be registered to this address. ENFORCE NO CONES IN FRONT OF HOUSES!! (unless handicap) If you DID do parking passes - 3. Milder form of above proposal. All passes FREE - Guest passes free + unlimited. Continue w/ relaxed ticketing in sidewalks/alleys so to not punish residents. Lots of people who live here aren't registered to Manayunk for many reasons. While this may not be legal in some cases, people often have good reasons (for not registering their car here) and a rational person wouldn't mind turning their head in many of these cases. Also college students, renting legally can't register their cars to Manayunk for many reasons, yet they are legal, rent paying residents w/signed leases and while it is easy to vilify "the young people" they ARE residents too and would be hurt by the plan.
There is no way to improve the problem because just like everything else it got too out of hand Just like the restaurants! We pay extra tax money every year and get nothing in return. The restaurants and landlords get all the profits!!
Try turning our neighborhood back into a family residential neighborhood and stop renting to college students and back to families.
My thanks to the PPA and the MNC for trying to do SOMETHING about this problem.
Open up part of St. Mary of the Assumption's lot. Most of the yard is unused and relatively empty. So much space going unused in this time of horrendous parking crunch is wrong, especially for residents who struggle (often futilely) to find a legal spot. And it is the real Christian thing for St. Mary's
Build an open parking high over the river. No cost for land
Venice Island Controversy Heats Up
The Garden Club, formed as a permanent committee of Manayunk Neighborhood Council in 1998, was targeted to gain support for a development proposed for Venice Island. The developer and property owner offered a deal to add improvements to Pretzel Park in return for support for their 270 apartment units on Venice Island.
Manayunk Neighborhood Council is appealing the Zoning Board's approval of the proposed development. Residential development on Venice Island is a complex issue and residents should research the issue and hear all sides of the controversy before offering support. If you are interesting in learning more about this matter, please attend the next meeting of Manayunk Neighborhood Council on March 7 at 7:30P.M. at the Venice Island Recreation Center, Cotton Street and the Manayunk Canal. Free parking is available in the Lock Street lot if you tell the attendant you are coming to our meeting.
You may have heard an accusation that Manayunk Neighborhood Council misappropriated grant funds designated for Pretzel Park. Not only is this not true, but no attempt was made to verify this information with us. Manayunk Neighborhood Council did receive a DCED grant to cover "Operating Expenses." The grant was effective from July 1, 1998 through June 30, 2000. We submitted our close-out report for the grant for "operating expenses" and it was subsequently approved. Please contact us if you would like a copy of the reports.
No matter what your opinion of all the controversy, I hope you will
continue to join us in the Garden Club and Pretzel Park events.
The Other Side of the Story
To provide a more complete set of facts about the proposed developments on Venice Island, three main points must be considered.
A. An update on the status and scope of the development proposals
The former Connelly Container Corporation site (developer Realan Properties) was approved for 270 apartment units. Variances to floodway restrictions and zoning codes have been granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA). This approval is being appealed by Manayunk Neighborhood Council, The Friends of the Manayunk Canal, and the Sierra Club. The Zoning Board has just released an explanation of their decision.
The former Namico Soap factory (developer Dranoff Inc.) has been approved for 160 apartment units. This project has been granted variances to the floodway restrictions and zoning codes and is being appealed by the groups listed above. The Zoning Board presented the "Finding of Fact" a few weeks ago. The lawyer for the appellants (listed above) is now preparing a response.
B. A listing of all proposed residential units in the area that will have a combined impact on the traffic in the Main St., Umbria St., and Green Lane Bridge corridors.
C. A careful examination of the projected benefits and liabilities these developments will bring to the community. Some benefits being presented for the Connelly Container site are:
While all these are desirable improvements, these results could be achieved by other projects on Venice Island. For example, those who appealed the ZBA's decision repeatedly advocated for other uses for the site such as passive recreation, modern offce space, or nonpolluting light industry. All produceless traffic and less danger.
A major liability for the development is the lack of safety for the people with their property and cars residing in thefloodway of the Schuylkill River. Unequivocal testimony was presented before the ZBA by swift water rescue experts. One of whom, Steve Miller, was previously consulted by the U.S. Congress on national flood issues and who testified that if people are allowed to live on Venice Island, "sooner or later somebody isgoing to die down there." (Deputy Chief Steve Miller, Montgomery County, MD, Swift Water Rescue expert)
Another important liability is the adverse effect the cars from these 270 apartments will have on the daily commute, especially when added to the other proposed residential developments. The impact will be particularly acute during the morning rush and will further erode the quality of life, on a daily basis, of those living in Manayunk and Roxborough. The development is almost twice the density stipulated by the City Planning Commission.
Providing additional parking on the island need not be linked to apartment units. There are also severe technical and legal problems with underground parking on Venice Island. Extra public parking spaces may never be realized as a result of this residential project.
Alternate uses could accomplish the same improvements on VI without the downside. Other uses would not increase the flood dangers or traffic problems. Pretzel Park, as a result of over $200,000 in funding, is already undergoing substantial renovations and improvements.
If you are interesting in learning more about this matter, please
attend the next meeting of Manayunk Neighborhood Council on March 7.
And check out the web pages of Manayunk Neighborhood Council at
www.manayunkcouncil.org and Friends of the Manayunk Canal at
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