Kent City Council voted to change the parking on the West Main Street Bridge from diagonal to parallel with a possibility of meter parking in the future.
On Oct. 1, Mayor Fiala and the rest of the council heard a motion to keep the parking as is with potential metered parking from Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer but that was quickly voted against.
“Parking over in the west river has not been well or completely managed and there is a lot of parking needs over there,” said Doug Fuller, owner of the West River Place building. “The bridge is part of those parking needs and I would hate to see them go.”
A major concern for Shaffer was how biking could be integrated into the bridge in order to keep a smooth transition of traffic.
“We did look at the potential if there wasn’t parking to add some kind of a bike lane,” Bowling said. “The problem is it’s not connected. It’s only in this small stretch of 300 feet because once you go one block west, there isn’t room for a bike lane or a bike facility, so establishing an actual signed striped lane for 200 feet would actually be more dangerous as cars and bikes weave out of that lane.”
Usage of the bridge and making it a gateway for Kent
Shaffer also brought up the point that the Kent Parks and Recreation department uses the bridge frequently and asked if anyone knew what John Idone, director of the Kent Parks and Recreation department, opinion was on the matter.
“John made it a point to say the department utilizes that parking on the bridge and a lot of people use that parking to get to the park,” said Councilman Michael DeLeone. “It would really be missed by the parks department if it was taken away.”
Councilman Garret Ferrara then made a motion to change the parking to parallel in order to create more spaces and allow businesses in the area to park there as well.
The bridge will still be undergoing some beautification, Bowling said. The city will add banners and lights on the bridge to create a gateway feel to the city.
Making the bridge more aesthetically pleasing was something that was brought up by Councilwoman Long and Wallach.
“If you deem it necessary to have parking on the bridge, then I think we ought to aesthetically look at making it lovely,” Long said.