|Daniel G. Cole||August 28, 2002|
I am currently employed as a traffic engineer with the City of Ithaca. I recently read an article in "Parking Today" concerning new changes in on-street parking. I have the following comments concerning these proposed changes.
I do not think that requiring on-street handicap parking on every block that has metered spaces is a good idea. We have some very narrow streets in Ithaca. In order to provide parking to existing businesses we have often shoehorned parking into a seven (7) foot lane width in order to maintain opposing 10' travel lanes. This is not a safe accommodation for handicap motorists and if we were required to eliminate all of the parking because we couldn't meet the new ADA standards it would lead to the ruin of downtown - businesses would move to the suburbs and urban sprawl would accelerate creating longer trips for commuters, greater fuel consumption, and poorer overall air quality. Widening the streets would be impossible because many of the historic buildings in our city have been here long before the automobile.
Further the new proposals are another example of how the federal government seems to lack an overall unified transportation plan for this country. These new ADA requirements would conflict with current SHPO standards, MUTCD regulations, and current statewide practices of trying to improve air quality.
Perhaps better effects could be made in attempting to get handicap motorists to take public transportation.
Daniel G. Cole
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