An open letter to Geneva’s Mayor, Councilors and City Manager:
We are writing in reference to the City’s planned return to the winter parking rules as announced by Ms. Gerling in her report at the end of the last Council meeting. The rules refer to alternate sides of the street parking where signs indicate such and no parking at all overnight on streets where alternate side parking is not allowed. This restriction is to be in effect every night from Dec. 1 to April 1. Such restrictions had been waived by Council vote for the past two years.
We are opposed to a return to the code on several levels.
1. The code was most likely instituted when winters were more severe and texting was not a universal exercise. Currently we may have 20 out of 120 calendar days when snow is accumulated and the DPW needs access to both sides of the road. To force residents, who have chosen to live here, to daily move their cars for no specific reason one-third of the year is antiquated, burdensome and unfriendly.
2. It is discriminatory. Geneva City housing was built over approximately 200 years. Many homes or apartments were built before car ownership was standard. Decades later most families owned one car. In the older sections of our City primarily below Nursery Avenue, in Wards 1, 2 and 3, parts of 4,and Wards 5 and 6 driveways are extremely narrow, add-ons, and in some cases non-existent. Now for many families or roommates two cars per household is the norm.
Not until the newer homes on the Ridgewood, West High, Greenbriar, Sprucewoods did ample off-street parking become a part of the house design. The original landowner of the Maxwell Avenue area mandated large lots in the sale of his tract so driveways in that area are adequate, some even double wide! We have diverse housing which adds to our depth as a City and choices for incoming home purchasers. But why must a good portion of our citizenry move their car(s) simply because of the location of their home?
3. We have to assume that almost everyone has been a part of a household where each night and/or morning members had to jockey cars so the first one to leave is nearest the street. Do you remember the groans or “not my turn” protests? Our City wishes to impose this on families after a long day at work or assisting their children in virtual learning. Really?
4. One of the reasons given for returning to the above plan is because it is a source of revenue. This line of thinking is hurtful and not justifiable. Essentially the City is implementing nightly restrictive parking with a hidden agenda hoping that its residents will not abide by it and that they can then be given a ticket to make money for the City coffers!
5. The police whose department Council wishes to reduce must be the messengers of the reenacted code. How unfair to them. Every night the officers will have to cover every street and issue a ticket to every car owner who did not move his/her car. Now you might say it doesn’t have to be every street every night. In a way that would fit into a hidden agenda. Residents would start playing Russian roulette and hope that the police do not come down their street that night or get too busy to cover a street. In the end more cars would be caught and tickets written. Again discriminatory. If we leave our car on Pulteney Street one night and get a ticket, our first question will be did the people on Lyceum and Humbert get tickets? If not that is unequal implementation of the law. One cannot be guilty on one street and not another. So every street every night.
The parking codes are obsolete and unwelcoming. I have to think Council wants people to want to live here. Much is being done to bring businesses to our City and rightfully so. But those businesses need customers. If it becomes too hard to live here, people won’t.
Let’s modernize. Let’s continue to grow as a dynamic city, building a further sense of community. With proper advertisement, education, perhaps with the help of our neighborhood associations we can make the texting program a success. Everyone is grateful to the work carried out by the DPW, especially when we hear them in the middle of the night plowing our roads. And yes, they must not be blocked from achieving their task efficiently. Technology has made our lives easier in so many ways. Let’s embrace it when it can enhance our lives and not shirk from it.
We respectfully ask that the current Council vote to remove the former winter parking restrictions from City code, to adopt permanently the texting practice of the past two years and then update City code to reflect such.
Thank you for reading this long missive.
Eileen and Tim Buckley