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Reading Parking Authority pushes for parking stalls in neighborhoods

The Reading Parking Authority has a plan to add  parking spaces to city streets, but City Council has been hesitant to approve it in the past.

Authority Executive Director Nathan Matz presented a report to the authority Monday night, and it included the results of a recent line-painting study.

Line striping is one of the most exciting and controversial parts of the authority’s plan to create new parking, Matz said.

“I was skeptical myself until I just reviewed all the data from our engineers,” Matz said. “And I’m really excited about what I learned.”

The authority hired an engineer to look at 25 blocks throughout the city.

The engineer assessed how the block was laid out, including how many yellow curbs, blue curbs, fire hydrants and parking spaces were there. Then the firm redesigned the blocks for the maximum amount of parking spaces.

The study showed that there are 980 active parking spaces in the blocks that were studied, Matz said.

“After they redesigned everything, laid everything out,” he said. “Those same 25 blocks now netted 1,087 spaces.”

That’s an increase of 11% or 107 spaces.

“Now, 11% isn’t a lot until you look at 11% over 10 square miles of a city,” he said. “We’ve heard a lot that there’s not going to be efficiency in line striping. Well, our data from our engineers clearly states and clearly supports the fact that 11% increase across the city would be a huge step forward in starting to permanently solve the parking crisis that is in the city.”

Matz gave an example of how the study found more parking spaces.

A curb should be painted yellow, 15 feet on either side of a fire hydrant. In one case, the engineer discovered that the curb was painted 15 feet on one side and 75 feet on the other side.

“So, there was over 2½ parking spaces that were yellow curbed for no reasons,” Matz said. “So, it’s inefficiencies like that that are all over the place.”

Councilwoman Donna Reed was happy to hear about the line-painting study.

“I have always been a proponent of that,” she said. “I hope that can be expanded exponentially.”

Councilwoman Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz, on the other hand, said residents should not expect to have a parking spot in their neighborhood.

“It’s just not going to happen, there aren’t not enough spaces, and the vehicles are too big,” she said. “Once we start to help people to look at not being so car dependent, but we need to figure that out because there just isn’t space.”

Matz proposed painting parking stalls earlier this year, but council was hesitant to support the idea.

There would be a $45 fine for parking outside of a parking stall.

At previous meetings, Goodman-Hinnershitz and authority board member Daniel Laws questioned what would happen if one person parked outside of the lines and forced other cars to park outside of the lines.

Parking Authority Enforcement Officer Bart Ganster said all the vehicles would be fined.

Source: Berkshire mont

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