As we all know, the wagon wheels of government turn slowly. The June 22nd COWncil meeting included a status update on the controversial parking restrictions along Woodside Road. The COWncil approved the restrictions last September but they still haven’t gone into effect. We can finally look forward to the Woodside Road parking restrictions this summer – probably.
It started as a battle royale between parents of Woodside Elementary students wanting to drop off their children and bicyclists and other users of the road who have suffered twice-daily traffic jams. There were heated words between the COWncil and residents. Eventually, through collaboration between all of the interest groups, common-sense solutions were agreed upon. (See our previous reports on this important public safety issue here and here.
This stretch of road which creates the parking, traffic, and safety issues that affects us every weekday are part of a public highway under CalTrans’ jurisdiction. According to staff, the holdup wasn’t on Woodside’s end. The Town Manager’s report stated that the project still, after eight months, hasn’t been approved by CalTrans. She reported that CalTrans’ formal position has changed repeatedly over the months and that the Town would “elevate the matter to the regional office” later this month, if it’s not resolved at the field staff level. Town Engineer Paul Nagengast was somewhat more optimistic.
Reportedly, there were three complete rounds of discussion between staff and CalTrans. CalTrans had tried to change the Town’s wording on the proposed signs, violating the spirit of what the COWncil approved. CalTrans lost correspondence between the Town and itself. Then, it had to be assured by the Bicycle Committee that local bike users were on board. This was important to Caltrans since this whole process was triggered when CalTrans proposed banning parking along Woodside Road because it blocked bicycle access. Finally, staff has recently nailed down the width of the new striping with the State. While acknowledging the headaches, Paul seemed confident that CalTrans now seems inclined to go with the Town’s desired signage. The current plan is to install the signs over the summer so that drivers can get used to them. Enforcement will begin before the new school year starts. We certainly hope that another school year does not go by without this important change to parking and traffic flow.
The COWncil had some questions about where the cars that currently park on the roadside will go. Paul stated that the school had freed up quite a few spaces, which hopefully will help. Then, he noted that “no one said this would be easy,” which is why he had been tasked to “live and breathe this for awhile” by the COWncil.
Both Paul and Susan George referred to this as an ongoing process, since the current regulations are unlikely to be the final versions. As the Town sees how traffic is affected, “tweaks” are likely. Even the possibility of widening the road and allowing room for parking spaces and an adequate walking trail was discussed as a future possibility.
A reminder of the parking restrictions soon to be in effect along Woodside Road:
1. “No Stopping and Parking Anytime”, along the north side of Woodside Road (westbound) from Cañada Road to Miramontes Road.
2. “No Stopping and Parking Anytime”, along the south side of Woodside road (eastbound) from the western boundary of Roberts Market parking lot west of Cañada Road to Fox Hollow Road except during the hours 8-9:30 a.m. and 2-4 p.m, M-F.
3. “No Stopping and Parking Anytime”, along the north side of Woodside Road from Martin Lane to Kings Mountain Road.
4. “No Stopping and Parking Anytime”, along Albion Avenue from Woodside Road to Prospect Street fronting the drainage ditch on the east side and the west side to 139 Albion Avenue.
The Town Manager will be authorized to provide exceptions to the “No Stopping and Parking Anytime” on Woodside Road to accommodate special events.
There will undoubtedly be problems with the new parking restrictions, as people get used to them. Hopefully it will be a big improvement over the current situation. Once the new signs are put in, we encourage all COWs to write in and let us know your experience with these restrictions.