The rules for parking on Woodside Road in the vicinity of Woodside Elementary School will change now that the Town Council has signed off on a proposal to install no-parking and tow-away signs.
The council voted 5-0 on Sept. 22 to adopt a resolution authorizing the signs, with council members Dave Burow and Ron Romines absent.
The winding two-lane arterial road is popular with cyclists, motorcyclists and anyone needing a direct route up through the foothills to Skyline Boulevard.
Downtown near the school, this state highway has bike lanes, a horse trail and residences, but no sidewalks, no curbs and no place to park legally. The pedestrian traffic includes the young and the old, when they can find room to walk safely and even when they can't.
When the proposal for the no-parking signs came before the council in July, several parents spoke with emotion about the inconvenience the signs might bring to their daily routine of dropping off and picking up their kids. The council, citing safety concerns and the illegality of parking in bike lanes, had given the community until Sept. 22 to think about alternatives.
The state Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over the road, wrote to the town in September 2008 recommending no-parking signs after receiving a "citizen complaint" about parking in bike lanes. The town had asked for time to review the matter.
Comments from the public on Sept. 22 mostly praised the council, though one resident warned of possible long queues when the rains begin and during the many special events at the school.
At a recent K-4 orientation for parents, there was "no (parking) space at all on campus or Woodside Road," resident Daniel Hachigian said, after praising the school for rearranging on-campus parking to add 30 visitor spaces.
The school hosted two community forums in September on the issue and some 100 parents participated in a "high-level" discussion about safety, said Tim Hanretty, assistant superintendent of the Woodside Elementary School District.
"I think, overall, people understood (the) proposal," he told the council. "They, I don't want to say, approved of it, but they accepted it."
The signs, when they go up in late October or November, will ban parking or stopping on the north side of Woodside Road in the vicinity of the school and along both sides of Albion Avenue, a residential side street across from the school, according to the resolution.
The same rules will apply to the south side of Woodside Road except on school days, when some parking will be allowed from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. so parents can drop off and pick up their children. Parking near fire hydrants and crosswalks will be banned completely.
"Pretty soon, we'll find out what the bottom line is, I think," Councilman Dave Tanner said. "If everybody works at making it work, it will work."
Public parking is also available at the town's library on the north side of Woodside Road "as long as there are not conflicts with library patrons," Public Works Director Paul Nagengast said in an e-mail. The ban on parking on the north side of the road should also open up the bike lanes as a route to crosswalks, he said.
The town needs multi-use trails so that kids can safely bike and walk to school, said Whiskey Hill Road resident Liz Dressel. Others agreed.
For details on the new parking restrictions, go to the online meeting packet and go to Page 25.