City staff are looking for ways to improve a school’s carpool procedure while continuing to allow residents to park on the street.
In an effort to improve safety at Conn Elementary School near downtown, Raleigh created no-parking zones from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. on school days along Frank and Norris streets. Drivers are not allowed to park on Brookside Drive from Edmund Street to Frank Street at any time.
The change will move traffic from the congested, narrow side streets and onto Brookside Drive, said Mike Kennon, Raleigh’s transportation operations manager. Brookside can handle the extra traffic as long as cars aren’t parked there, he said.
But some residents say they want to park on Brookside Drive.
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Derek Engi, who lives on Brookside, said his driveway is steep and it is more convenient to park his truck on the street.
Engi said he doesn’t have a problem with limiting parking on Frank and Norris streets. But he said the city should come up with a better plan for Brookside.
Maybe residents could buy parking permits to keep their vehicles on the road, he said.
“I think (Brookside Drive) is wide enough that it doesn’t warrant completely getting rid of that parking privilege for residents,” Engi said.
Mike McDow, who retired from Raleigh’s planning department, was the only resident who reached out to the city to support the change.
McDow has lived on Brookside Drive since 1987, and he said he regularly gets stuck in his driveway during carpool times. People have even parked in his private driveway, he said.
“It’s like Black Friday at Walmart,” McDow said. “Parents will come in, oblivious to anything other than picking their kids up.”
He figures no-parking zones will be inconvenient, but he said they will be better than some of the problems he encounters during the school year.
Kennon told the city council he’s hesitant to recommend parking permits, especially for Frank and Norris streets. Permits wouldn’t fix the safety concerns, he said.
Raleigh police brought up the safety issues to the city, noting that Conn Elementary has a large number of students who walk to school on Frank and Norris streets and Brookside Drive.
Last school year, 253 students at Conn Elementary used the carpool, said Wake County schools spokesman Matt Dees. There were 136 students who walked to school, which is higher than most other elementary schools in Wake, he said.
Kennon and his staff will continue collecting feedback to find a compromise with residents, at the request of city council.