I came home to a new sign on my court yesterday. I had wondered why the back corner of a neighbor’s yard had spray paint and yellow flags stuck in it. Now I know. My husband had quite the adventure yesterday dealing with our City‘s employees, ranging from the Public Works Department guy who attempted to hand-deliver an undated letter to our Rottweilers and the Police Department who seemed conveniently unaware of what the ‘left hand’ at the Public Works Department was doing to the ‘right hand’ of law enforcement.
But let me back up a bit.
Terry had left the front door open, but the screen door (with the glass recently installed instead of the screen to help weather proof the front entry) because he was watching the Public Works employees install the sign across the street from our house. He went back downstairs, either to the band room to check something on the computer, or downstairs to the basement to the laundry, when one of the Public Works guys attempted to attach the aforementioned undated letter to the front door. Roxy and Apollo definitely had something to say about that, in their usual loud and assertive manner. Terry hobbled back upstairs to rescue the guy and accept the letter. He wasn’t up to answering Terry’s questions, so my husband paid a visit to the Police Department at City Hall (just a couple of blocks south of where we live).
Terry asked the receptionist for the Police Department about the new no parking zone, showing her the letter he had just received. She was not aware of the change. She joked that she had not receive that e-mail (similar to the old ‘didn’t get that memo’ line). Terry also confirmed he had not received an e-mail. She sent him across the street to the building that houses both the Lansing Community Library and the Public Works Department. He finally got clarification of exactly where the ‘no parking zone’ in our court started and stopped (see before and after aerial photos above – courtesy Google Maps and MS Paint). Basically, you can safely park to the south of my driveway and directly across the street from there on the east side of the ‘straight’ part of our court.
For added drama, last night happened to be band rehearsal night, so I rearranged all the vehicles to accommodate the return of the percussionist and his drum kit. The Firebird shivered out of the garage and huddled behind the vanpool van, both of which took up the entire left hand (south side) of my driveway, leaving the garage and the right hand side open for loading and unloading of equipment. The Bonneville hunkered down in the yard under the pin-oak next to the van and the Firebird.
After juggling the cars, I gave Roxy and Apollo some attention before sitting down to read the letter. I snorted at the sentence claiming they took ‘the initiative to post the areas, with confidence that the benefit to residents outweighs any inconvenience’ (see link to full letter above for context). I can understand the City’s concern with respect to snow removal. Last winter, we had an unusual amount of snow fall, more than I can remember going clear back to the 70s. And, our court hosted an uninvited guest for several months (see nearly buried white pickup in photo below). Yet most of the year (ten months at least) I don’t need to worry about snow removal or ice accumulation.
Even if the white pickup truck had not taken up residence on our court last winter, the operator of the snow plow still managed to gouge a portion of my yard not a part of the circular court, and where no one dares to park (because it’s too close to the stop sign as you exit Bambi Court):
So I resolved to myself to take the letter with me to work today, where I can easily scan it and convert it to a searchable PDF file format. After scanning the letter, I went searching around on the City of Lansing’s website and found the e-mail address of the Director of the Public Works Department. I wrote down several questions I had thought of during the commute to work this morning and quickly composed an e-mail to him asking for a response at his earliest convenience. Here are the questions I posed in my e-mail:
- Was a public meeting held to discuss this change to the parking policy as respects cul-de-sacs in the City of Lansing?
- If there was a meeting, was public notice posted? If yes, where (newspaper, website, etc.)
- Was a special effort made to contact those who would be most affected by the policy change (namely anyone living on a cul-de-sac)?
- Where are the minutes from said meeting (if it occurred)?
- How many cul-de-sacs were affected by this parking policy change? Please list them.
His response, while brief, came in a timely fashion (within thirty to forty-five minutes of receipt).
Thanks for your e-mail. We are in the process of ordering supplemental plates for the No Parking signs that will add the legend “During Snow.” The decision was made based on the history of difficulties as reported by the operators. Thirteen locations were identified.
Public Works Director, City of Lansing
I don’t know why I expected to get actual answers to my questions, but I am encouraged that citizens’ voices have been heard as a results of this tempest in a tea pot. I can only infer from the brief response above that no public meeting was held (or even thought of for that matter). The City employees (i.e. snow plow operators) unilaterally ‘voted’ these parking zones into existence based on past problem areas. At least a caveat is in the works, but for the time being, the parking availability in my little corner of the world is in limbo.
If you stop by for a visit, please don’t hesitate to park in my driveway or along the street to the south of my driveway. Just don’t park in the obvious spot in front of my house next to the mail box, at least until the second new sign is tacked on to the existing new sign to limit the no parking times to snowy conditions.
Thanks to the City of Lansing for this early Christmas gift. It will make holiday gatherings so much more enjoyable.