This post on the removal of car parking at a park inspired me to write this post about the addition of car parking at a park.
Palmisano (Stearns Quarry) Park was created out of a dolomite limestone quarry and landfill in Bridgeport. The park is well designed and has a variety of landscape features. It’s quite popular, especially with elderly Asian residents.
Now, after a year of it being open, many diagonal parking spaces were installed on 27th Street. Space was removed from the parkway to create additional parking spaces where only parallel spaces existed.
Access to the park is not an issue. There are hundreds of households and thousands of residents within half a mile. There’re bike lanes and bus stops. There is a signalized intersection that makes it safer for people to cross the street to the park. Lastly, there are many unused parallel parking spaces lining two sides of the park.
So why was parking added? Did the neighbors ask for it? Did the Chicago Park District feel new parking was needed?
In a nutshell, my complaints against this are:
- It removed parkway – this should be sacred space. Perhaps we can institute a “tit-for-tat” policy (modeled after a parking meter agreement*) where if parkway is removed in one place, parkway has to be expanded or improved in another place.
- Potentially increases traffic in area by encouraging more driving by offering free parking. All parking surrounding the park is free.
- Parking space for drivers with handicap badges does not have a ramp. This is the most perplexing part – you may have to open the photo to its full size to notice this.
- Bumpout is not a bioswale. I highly doubt anyone will maintain the grass and soil. This landscaping will die.
- Bumpout’s large radius will not calm traffic (I watch it every day).
I would like to see the bumpout “island” transformed into a proper curb extension at a stop sign where drivers typically pause in the crosswalk and quickly turn right into southbound Halsted without stopping. I would like to see a bioswale collect the water from the street at this curb and divert it to the park’s wetlands.
*As I understand it, if parking meter spaces are removed and converted to another use (like a curb extension or on-street bicycle parking), a non-metered space must be converted to the equivalent metered spaces removed.