Concord to hold public forums regarding on-street parking issue

  • This image shows streets in Concord where street parking can create problems for passing traffic. Yellow streets are of marginal concern, whereas red streets are high-concern areas. Blue dotted streets show areas where the width of the street/street parking can create issues for plows. City of Concord—Courtesy

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    Perley Street in Concord is shown on Friday, October 19, 2018. The street is one of several "narrow streets" the city identified while studying streets where width and on-street parking cause problems. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

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    Rowell Street in Concord is shown on Friday, October 19, 2018. The street is one of several "narrow streets" the city identified while studying streets where width and on-street parking cause problems. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/19/2018 2:03:04 PM

As winter-parking ban season approaches, the city is seeking public input on which streets in the downtown area should allow on-street parking.

The parking committee studied more than 80 streets in Wards 4, 5 and 6, as well as a few streets in Penacook and West Concord, as part of their Narrow Streets project. The area covers streets north, west and south of downtown, and neighborhoods surrounding the University of New Hampshire’s School of Law and White Park.

The city will be holding a series of forums to discuss the study and how the streets should be handled. The first forum will concern the area around White Park and the law school.

Concord’s Deputy City Manager of Development Matt Walsh said the study was done in response to residents who had concerns about the size of their streets.

“We were hearing comments from people saying, ‘Hey, I live on such-and-such street and I’m having a hard time backing out of my driveway, because there’s cars parked on either side and the streets are very narrow,’ ” he said.

Walsh said residents were also concerned about emergency vehicles getting down narrow roads with on-street parking. City officials say winter can create other problems as well, like difficulties in plowing the street or picking up garbage.

Concord’s ordinances have minimum street width requirements for on-street parking to allow for a 12-foot travel way. For there to be parking on both sides of the street, the city mandates at least 28 to 36 feet, depending on the traffic volume. That accommodates 8 feet for parking on either side and 12 to 20 feet of travel way.

Parking on one side requires about 20 to 28 feet, depending on traffic volume. Streets with widths of less than 20 to 28 feet, depending on traffic volume, are not supposed to have any on-street parking at all.

But many narrow streets do, according to city documents, and that creates a safety problem for plows during the winter. They identified about 52 streets as “high concern” areas, where parking and street width create problems.

The city is recommending removing parking on both sides of sections of Chapel Street, Perry Avenue, Short Street, Thompson Street, Highland Street, Liberty Street and Gordon Court, according to city documents.

There are also several streets where on-street parking is only allowed on one side; the city is recommending removing parking from the other side of those streets, thereby also removing parking altogether from said street.

But Walsh said the parking committee isn’t going into these meetings with preconceived notions of what the city will do.

“If people think what they’re seeing is unacceptable, we’ll talk about how that can be addressed,” he said. “It’s going to be, ‘Here’s what the community is telling us, here’s what we think is going on with these streets.’ ”

The forum will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday at UNH Law in Room 204.




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