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Angled street parking an eyesore, some residents of Old Wyomissing Road say

The angled street parking recently added to two blocks of Old Wyomissing Road is an eyesore, some residents of the Reading street say.

“This devalues our properties,” said Neal Kloiber, who has owned a house in the 800 block for more than 25 years. “We used to have a park-like setting; now it looks like an industrial parking lot.”

The angled lines were painted Monday in the 800 and 900 blocks to accommodate overflow parking at West Reading’s pickleball and basketball courts.

The courts on parkland owned by West Reading lie within the Reading city limits.

The parking change generated complaints to Reading City Councilwoman Vanessa Campos, who represents District 1, which includes the park and homes along Old Wyomissing Road.

Campos spoke about the issue Monday at council’s committee of the whole meeting.

“We’re still not sure where we stand and how to resolve this,” she said.

In addition to complaints about the street’s appearance, residents told Campus that they were not notified of the plan, the councilwoman said.

Diagonal parking has been instituted along Old Wyomissing Road at the West Reading Pickleball Courts. (BILL UHRICH - READING EAGLE)
A switch to diagonal parking in the 800 and 900 blocks of Old Wyomissing Road has added about 20 spaces in the two blocks at West Reading’s pickleball and basketball courts, officials said. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

Elizabeth Fallon, who lives in the 900 block of Old Wyomissing Road, said residents should have been notified and given an opportunity to comment.

Like, Kloiber, she is concerned that the higher density parking detracts from the aesthetics of the neighborhood.

“It is so ugly to look at,” she said. “It was so park-like, which is one of the reasons I purchased here. I liked how the aesthetic was, and now it’s nothing but white lines.”

Tim Krall, city engineer, said the project was in the works for more than a year.

It started when representatives of West Reading approached the city’s public works department with the idea of changing the parallel parking to angled parking on the street in front of the pickleball courts, he said.

The courts have become popular year-round, weather permitting, Krall noted, and the borough was receiving complaints about the lack of on-street parking from players and residents.

“They actually got complaints from the local neighborhood that spaces were being taken on the side streets, not just that side of that street (Old Wyomissing Road),” he said.

Kerry Grassley, West Reading director of public works, said the borough reached out for help from the West Reading Pickleball Association, an organization of volunteers that facilitates programs and tournaments on the courts.

“We were taking complaints from the people living across the street from the pickleball courts about players taking up the parking spaces on the residential side of the street,” Grassley said. “And so we reached out to the pickleball association.”

The volunteer group paid for a traffic study that recommended the angled parking, he said, and funded and contracted for the subsequent design and line painting, adding about 20 spaces in the two blocks.

Diagonal parking has been instituted along Old Wyomissing Road at the West Reading Pickleball Courts. (BILL UHRICH - READING EAGLE)
Diagonal parking has been instituted along Old Wyomissing Road in Reading to address parking issues at West Reading’s pickleball and basketball courts. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

The plan was submitted to the city, Krall said, and approved because it was similar to others approved in Reading.

“And I think it’s going to be overall a good idea,” he said. “I was not aware until today that anyone even had a problem with it.”

Krall said he thought the residents were aware of the plan and in favor of adding the spaces, which provide some parking relief in the area.

If there is a problem, he said, complaints should go to the borough.

“We’re just approving it because it’s a city street and they wanted more parking,” he said, “And we’re all about adding more parking to our city streets where it’s safe and possible.”

But Grassley said the borough had no involvement outside of its ownership of the park. The street and houses across from the courts are in the city, he noted.

Fallon said it feels as though the city and borough are giving her the run-around.

“I spent two days on the phone talking to Reading,” she said. “Reading pushed it back and said it was West Reading’s idea. They (the city) just signed off on it.”

Grassley said he sympathizes with the pickleball players’ need for parking but understands why some residents might be upset.

“They live in beautiful and well-maintained homes,” he said. “It’s a beautiful area of the city.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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