Parents of students at Woodside Elementary School, irritated at the prospect of losing their parking routines when picking up and dropping off their kids, won a delay on tough new parking regulations.
After pleas for collaboration from parents at the council's July 28 meeting, the Town Council agreed to postpone action that would ban illegal parking that blocks bike lanes on Woodside Road, a state highway.
The council is looking to preempt action by the California Department of Transportation, which would clear the bike lanes by banning parking on both sides of the road between Canada and Kings Mountain roads.
Woodside Road residents have complained of blocked driveways and being forced to walk in traffic lanes to get downtown. The council gave the school community until Sept. 22 to develop ideas about parking alternatives.
The school reportedly has insufficient parking on site. Either the school solves the problem or Caltrans will, Councilwoman Sue Boynton said.
Parents asked for a delay until late October, but no dice. The school community had better get on it, Mayor Peter Mason said, calling the council's postponement "a short fuse."
Caltrans let its concerns be known in a September 2008 letter to the town in response to complaints by cyclists, Public Works Director Paul Nagengast said. Woodside's plan would experiment with no parking on the north side west to Miramontes Road and regulated parking on the south side, but only for school drop-offs and pick-ups. The no-parking signs could be covered for special events.
Parents blamed the cyclists. "Those darn bicyclists interfered with our ability to drop off our kids, and you're going to be on the hot seat," parent Kermit Claytor warned the council. With no place to park, parents waiting to turn into the school lot will block traffic, he said, adding, "You're going to have a rebellion on your hands."
"Insensitive bikers called Sacramento," parent Chris Canellos complained, adding: "I sincerely regret the loss of freedom that's occurring here."
An incorrect analysis, Mr. Mason said. "You're not going to hear me say this very often (but) this is not a bicyclists' problem," he said. "We've got to come up with ideas that solve the problem. Otherwise, we're all going to keep doing the same stuff."
"They've been doing the same stuff for 30 years," countered parent Daniel Hachigian, who questioned Caltrans' authority in the matter.
Councilwoman Deborah Gordon counseled parents against coming back to make the same arguments in September. "The solution," she said, "is not 'We get to do whatever we have been doing and the heck with the neighbors and the rest of the community.'"
Judy Siever, a Woodside Road resident, added: "I think the kids need to have a safe way to get to school. There isn't a safe place to ride their bikes or walk."