Archive for Thursday, January 24, 2008

City displays wisdom with parking solution

January 24, 2008

A resounding thank you goes out to City Administrator Mike Smith, whose common-sense actions seem to have diffused an issue splitting some Hithergreen Drive neighbors and Lansing High School students.

A group of neighbors who live along Hithergreen made appearances a week ago at both the Lansing School Board and Lansing City Council meetings to complain about some students who use Hithergreen for parking rather than the school lots or other nearby streets.

The neighbors cited "major problems" from students parking on Hithergreen, including overcrowded streets, safety risks, blocked driveways, mailboxes and fire hydrants, tire tracks in lawns and increased littering.

Smith has heard from the Hithergreen neighbors ever since construction of a new auditorium at the high school began in late 2006. The construction eliminated, for the duration of the project, about 120 parking spots normally used by students. The school district has opened a new lot, with 43 spaces, since then.

But parking spots at LHS continue to be at a premium, and some students have taken to on-street parking on Hithergreen. Early on, neighbors complained. Lansing Police officers have patrolled the area, issuing citations when coming across illegally parked cars.

Mostly though, the cars were parked legally on Hithergreen, a public street.

For whatever reason, the residents' wore thin this past week, which caused them to approach the council and school board about the problems.

Enter Smith, who asked a simple question of his staff: "Has anybody talked to the kids parking there or their parents?"

Seems nobody had. So, as Smith put it, "We talked to them."

The talking seemed to have worked; on Friday of last week, Smith reported seeing just three cars parked on Hithergreen - hardly a major problem.

The "easy fix," as Smith called it, basically removes the need to put up no-parking signs, which would have robbed the Hithergreen residents of on-street parking outside their own homes.

You've heard it before: Talk is cheap. That's certainly true in this case, and we hope it remains effective.

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