Cars park along Fourth Street just north of California Avenue. (Photo by Daniel Archuleta)

City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday night to approve preferential parking permits in the neighborhood near Goose Egg Park, but none of the council members was happy about it.

The restrictions will allow 2-hour parking from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. between Fourth and Seventh streets on Palisades and Alta avenues. The restrictions will also be added on Seventh Street between Montana and Alta avenues.

Residents can obtain permits and park beyond the 2-hour limit. Residents seeking preferential parking in their neighborhood can apply if they gather signatures from two-thirds of the residential units on the block.

Residents of adjacent neighborhoods, which already have preferential parking requirements, sometimes park in the Goose Egg Park neighborhood, speakers said during public testimony. Additionally, they complained that workers and business owners park in the neighborhood to avoid paying for parking.

Spots adjacent to the two-thirds-acre Goose Egg Park will not be restricted.

Councilmember Terry O’Day, the lone dissenting vote, was the loudest voice opposing preferential parking requirements.

“The privatization of the public street is really what we’re doing to a certain extent,” he said. “We’re doing it in a neighborhood that has a city-owned and operated park — open space park in front on Palisades — and in a neighborhood where most of the properties have driveways and garages. What we heard is that sometimes we’d prefer to park in the front of our house instead of in the back.”

“I agree with you,” Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez said, “but I feel bad because I’ve approved them in the past and I feel kind of in a pickle here: Why not approve this one, especially when I’m hearing from some of the residents from (Montana Avenue neighborhood) are leaving their cars there overnight. I feel for them. I would be just as frustrated as they are if there were cars parking on our street.”

City officials plan to completely revamp the city’s preferential parking system sometime in the next year. They displayed a map showing preferential parking requirements that currently blanket the city.

Councilmember Gleam Davis framed her yes vote as a temporary fix.

“We do have an issue with parking throughout the city and we have been addressing preferential parking, to my mind, in a relatively piecemeal manner,” she said, “and while I’m a firm believer that one size does not necessarily fit all, I think the fact that essentially, when you look at the city map, preferential parking covers the entire map, shows that we haven’t really figured out how to address this issue and that a comprehensive approach might be appropriate. Nevertheless, I certainly understand and, as someone who’s familiar with that area, I know that parking in that neighborhood is incredibly difficult.”

Councilmember Sue Himmelrich expressed a desire to honor the work of the signature-gathering residents.

“As much as I hate it, I will be voting for it,” she said of the requirements.

While the system is being mended, she said, the residents need relief.

“The system is so pervasive now that I feel as if we need to look at the entire system and figure out what to do with it,” she said.

One resident expressed concern that, given the parking requirements, it’d be harder for her kids and friends to come visit her. O’Day agreed.

“I mean, you have pay for them, you have to reserve them, it’s not as simple as casually parking when your kids are visiting for overnight or during the day,” he said. “It’s no panacea for solving parking problems. It’s trading one for the other.”

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