The on-street committee of the Warsaw Traffic Commission that is studying downtown parking issues has completed their work and is ready to present solutions.
Since last summer, the traffic commission has been looking at ways to combat parking issues that hinder downtown business. The problem is that the city lacks areas of free parking for downtown employees, who then utilize the two-hour spaces. Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said, “It’s a pretty complex issue,” noting that any changes would need to be approved by city ordinance.
A total of four subcommittees of the commission have worked to study the issue and determine feasible solutions. At last month’s traffic commission meeting, some suggestions for free parking spaces were presented. (See story)
During Wednesday’s meeting, while no detailed information was discussed, Warsaw Police Lt. Kip Shuter, who serves as traffic commissioner, said a report is nearly ready to be presented to the commission for approval. The off-street committee must still provide its findings and those will all be sent to the finance and policy committee for a final review.
A final report will be presented to the Warsaw Traffic Commission on May 1 and will then go to the Warsaw Common Council for a final decision.
Also discussed at Wednesday’s meeting was the proposal to eliminate parking on Market Street from Wood Street to Argonne Road. The initial hope was that most of Market Street to the east could be resurfaced and a bicycle lane be added as formatted in the Warsaw+Winona Bike+Walk master plan. (See story)
After further review of the street, Shuter told the traffic commission that the matter needs to dropped for the time being. An accident history for the past 5 years was pulled and determined that those numbers do not meet the standards for making any major changes. According to Shuter, a total of five accidents or more would be needed each year. A total of 16 crashes were reported on the street since 2008.
Additionally, Thallemer said residents along Market Street are concerned about losing their parking. “I think it’s important to just continue as we are and kind of let this go until we decide what we are going to do,” he explained. “The geometry is still somewhat of an issue with two lanes of traffic and parking there and we know that, but it’s important to have our next step in order before we make a quick, short term change.”
While a side path for bicycle/pedestrians will still be looked at, Shuter added, “It’s not the idea to remove parking for bike lanes. The bike paths – the connectors between the east side greenway and the west greenways – just facilitated the idea and brought it to light that we needed to go out and measure Market Street, but the idea is not to remove parking a put a bike path there instead.”
In a final action, the commission approved an agreement with Warsaw Community Schools to allow Warsaw Police to enforce traffic laws on school campuses. The 20-year agreement will go to the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety and to the Warsaw School Board for final approval.
The next meeting of the Warsaw Traffic Commission is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 1.