Some of the people most affected by the removal of around 13 parking spaces at Fourth and Clark Streets are the elderly residents and business patrons at the intersection, business owner Jay Talbot explained to the Laramie City Council during a December 10 work session.
“It’s rough on elderly person,” added Lance Becker, Fourth Street resident, during the same work session. “Especially with the sidewalks when they’re icy.”
In March, the Traffic Commission postponed a vote to potentially reinstate some of the lost parking at the intersection awaiting results from an additional traffic study. City engineer Eric Jaap said during Thursday’s Traffic Commission meeting city staff did not have time to complete the traffic study due to staff time and resource constraints as they work on other city projects.
Jaap added city staff will “make every attempt” they can to complete the study before the semester ends but couldn’t guarantee they’d have the time or resources.
Public comments from Talbot and other residents and business owners about parking at the intersection have appeared regularly at various city meetings in recent months.
City staff coordinated the intersection changes with work the Wyoming Department of Transportation was doing at an adjacent intersection. WYDOT’s project timeline left city staff little time for public input or notice as they painted as much as 468 feet of curb around the intersection yellow, the amount dictated by engineering safety guidelines for a two-way stop.
During the Traffic Commission’s March 21 meeting, attorney Isaiah Gross with Pence and MacMillan said his client, James Rinehart, just “woke up, and the curbs were painted.”
Understanding some yellow paint is needed for safety issues, Rinehart urged the City Council during its Tuesday work session to compromise between the need for parking in the area and public safety.
Many public comments in recent months, including one February 5 from Talbot, noted other intersections on Fourth Street have more serious safety concerns with less yellow curb.
“If we were to apply this same rule all the way down Fourth Street, we would have one parking space in each block,” Talbot said during the February 5 City Council meeting.“If it truly is a safety issue, let’s be safe with the whole street.”
Commission member Harold Colby asked during Thursday’s meeting if additional traffic studies could be done on other intersections, but Jaap explained the budget for traffic counts can only handle one intersection at a time.
Concerned with how long it takes to complete considerations of citizen requests, commission vice chair Michael Moeller suggested during Thursday’s meeting it might be advantageous to begin meeting monthly, even if the agendas are short. Jaap explained the city tries to schedule additional meetings to approve important meeting minutes to help speed up the process, but monthly meetings would not be cost-effective when factoring staff time preparing and conducting each meeting.
The next Traffic Commission meeting will be May 9.