Following their own lead from earlier this year, Brookfield trustees on Oct. 24 voted 5 to 1 against a recommendation from the village’s Public Safety Commission to restrict parking to just one side of the street on all north-south roadways in the Hollywood section of town.
Instead of a blanket rule requiring one-side only parking, the village board adopted a scaled-back law that prohibits parking around many of the islands, which sit in the midst of many Hollywood streets.
The new law prohibits parking within 20 feet of the following islands: Woodside and Greenview, Hollywood and Greenview, Rosemear and Greenview, Hollywood and Riverside and Woodside and Washington.
“I think there’s no demand for this peculiar desire to restrict to one-side-of-the-street parking,” said Trustee C.P. Hall, who lives in South Hollywood. “When we have snow problems or when we have just street cleaning, we already have cooperation from the people down there.”
In addition to seeing no pressing need for the change, Hall said the change may be resented by residents.
“I think restricting parking there serves no good purpose,” Hall said. “I think it may alienate people who are right now being cooperative with the ordinances as they are written.”
Trustee Michael Towner, the lone vote in favor of greater restrictions on parking, argued that safety should trump convenience when it comes to parking on Hollywood’s narrow, curving streets.
“I don’t believe this to be an ordinance about convenience. To me this is an ordinance about public safety,” Towner said. “I would hate to be the person who would need an ambulance or a fire truck and it can’t get to me in time. Every second counts.”
But Trustee Kit Ketchmark, another South Hollywood resident, disagreed with Towner’s assessment of two-side parking being a danger to safety in the neighborhood.
“I do think sometimes when we do create an ordinance we create other problems, and I can see this leading to that in some areas … as to where cars go [to park due to more restrictions],” Ketchmark said. “I think the change in the islands will help some of these areas where the fire trucks can’t get through. I don’t see it being an issue throughout the area. I don’t see the need to make an ordinance just for the sake of making an ordinance.”
Meanwhile, Trustee Cathy Colgrass Edwards also argued against more restrictions, not because of uncertainty over where displaced cars might go to park, but because there aren’t that many cars parked on the streets in the first place.
“The parking on the weekends, I just don’t see that many cars on both sides of the street,” said Edwards, who added she’d like to see how the restrictions related to parking around and near the islands helped the situation.
Trustee Ryan Evans agreed, saying the village’s decision in September to extend a requirement for one-side parking after heavy snowfalls to 12 hours a day from eight and banning parking around the islands was good enough for now.
“I’d like to see that implementation occur before we revisit this, because as I drive around the Hollywood section of town, I think this should address many of the problems that were brought to us by public safety,” Evans said.
In the meantime, said Trustee Brian Oberhauser, the village public works, fire and police departments should start documenting instances where snow plows or emergency equipment has trouble negotiating Hollywood’s streets.
“As much as it’s great to have vague senses that there are problems getting through Hollywood, if we can have [facts] at that point then we can say, ‘OK, clearly this is a problem. We have real evidence’ and at that point we can change it,” said Oberhauser.