Friday, October 15, 2010

Parking Problems...

One of the major tenets of Traditional Neighborhood Developments is to replicate the on-street parking you find in many urban areas.  This helps slow down traffic which, in turn, provides a safer pedestrian environment.

Historically though, some fire departments have been skittish about this because of perceived access problem.  "Perceived" because its not always the reality.

Recently, the issue popped up in the Lost Rabbit development outside Jackson, Mississippi.

Here's the story:

The problem with parked cars clogging the narrow streets of Lost Rabbit may soon be gone. Madison County officials recently met with the neighborhood developer and officials of the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, the owner of the property at the end of Madison's Hoy Road to work out a compromise. Mack Pigg, the county fire coordinator, said county officials expect a letter from the developer to go out soon to homeowners and contractors working there warning them not to park on the street or risk being towed.

The issue of a perceived versus real problem is explained later in the article by a spokesman for the Congress for New Urbanism:

The issue of narrow streets in traditional neighborhood developments is a perennial one, said Stephen Filmanowicz, with the Congress for the New Urbanism, a Chicago-based nonprofit that promotes walkable, mixed-used neighborhood development. "The streets in TNDs are expected to form highly connected networks, with lots of street crossings and no cul-de-sacs. This means many routes to any point," he said. "A problem is that most fire guidelines and fire codes assume a conventional street system. ... There's a corresponding insistence on wide streets to allow room for two pieces of equipment to pass each other. "In a well-designed TND, that's not necessary, since a driver of a fire truck could find a convenient alternate route, adding only seconds, if another truck were blocking the original route," he said.

--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.

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