Educating the public, typically those unfamiliar with Superior’s calendar parking regulations, usually comes in the form of a citation.
And finding solutions is happening on a case-by-case basis.
Since August, the City Council has approved two exemptions to calendar parking for neighborhood churches with insufficient off-street parking to accommodate their patronage.
“I think we need to tackle this on a broader level,” Councilor Brent Fennessey said. “We’ve been talking about this for three years or so, and we still haven’t solved anything … until we tackle this citywide, we have to take this on a case-by-case basis.”
Mayor Jim Paine said during a Public Works Committee meeting in September, he’s gotten countless requests from churches and businesses squeezed by calendar parking.
“Ours is one of those old neighborhood churches that grew beyond what it was before,” said Joel Certa-Werner, pastor of Faith United Methodist Church. The church was approved Oct. 1 for an exemption to calendar parking on Sunday mornings until 2 p.m. and noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays to accommodate services and church activities.
The challenge with the exemption is it doesn’t just open up parking for church goers, but anyone who wants to park there, Councilor Jenny Van Sickle said.
“The biggest issue we have with this is the traffic flow and the safety, as far as safety vehicles getting in and plowing in the winter,” Councilor Keith Kern said.
Alternate side parking, also called calendar parking, was implemented citywide through most Superior neighborhoods in December 1991. Since then, unless otherwise exempted, residents have been permitted to park on one side of the street one week and the other side of the street the following week. Parking on both sides of the streets is only allowed during a four-hour window that starts at 4 p.m. Sunday to allow the switch to the alternate side of the street.
Superior Traffic Lt. Thor Trone called it four hours of organized chaos, a time when it’s known there is a potential for streets being blocked.
“I think you’re going to get these requests again,” Paine said. “You should look for a little bit more comprehensive solution to the problem.”
Chris Carlson, assistant public works director, suggested developing a policy that would determine under what circumstances exemptions would be granted.
“There’s nothing uniform about the traffic code,” Fennessey said, adding he would be in favor of a broader solution to exempting some areas from calendar parking.
"We have a comprehensive policy for the city in calendar parking," Van Sickle said. "I would feel more comfortable making these exceptions or creating something new with representation from the fire department … I'm concerned what we're doing here."