Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Watch out, Woodstock. "Dedicated" parking?

Look out, Woodstock. Here it comes...

"Dedicated" parking. Know what that is?

Sure, you've seen reserved parking spaces in business parking lots. The owner's name might be on a plaque or stenciled on the parking pavement. You might see "Reserved for Employee of the Month". Or "Reserved for customers of ___." But these spaces are on private property.

Or maybe "Reserved for 501" on the first parking space nearest the back door to the Sheriff's Department in McHenry County. 501 is the Sheriff's car. Sure wouldn't want the sheriff to roll in late and have to walk from the end of the parking lot.

But now the Woodstock City Council is thinking about "dedicating" on-street parking for a private business, Harding Real Estate. Harding owns the building on Newell (across and up the street from the current Dorr Township office). He leases the building to DCFS, and DCFS contract terms require him to provide 48 parking spaces.

Apparently the 48 can be a combination of off-street and on-street parking spaces. I'm sure somebody in Springfield spent hundreds of man-hours agonizing over the wording for a contract that would be applied state-wide, regardless of demand.

Harding wants to buy a 100-year-old house ("well-maintained", according the City, and renter occupied) at 122 Newell St., so that he can demolish it for additional parking. Harding intends to add 5,000 sq. ft. to his DCFS building, and he must have more parking. Why not move the DCFS operation out of the residential neighborhood and stick it in a commercial location with adequate parking?

How many times have you driven into a parking lot and passed 8-10 empty handicapped spaces? Some law, whether Federal or State, requires a minimum number of handicap spaces, whether they are needed or not. They "might" be needed one day, so they must be provided every day. Makes a lot of sense; right? Wrong!

What the heck for? So that 8-10 of them can sit empty all day?

Hey, now here's an idea. Why doesn't Harding buy the Dorr Township building and acquire the needed parking spaces there.
City Councilwoman Maureen Larson said, according to the quote in the Northwest Herald, "You're asking us for an up-and-down vote to tear down a perfectly good building, and I don't know that I'm comfortable with that."

Why can't our Council representatives speak with straight tongues? Why didn't she just say, "I don't like it, and I shall vote against it!" When they waffle, this too often means a vote in favor is right around the corner.

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