Traffic Commission Considers Fremont Street Parking Issues

The city could be looking into making Fremont Street one-way, as well as reconstructing sidewalks on the street, as a way to ease parking woes on the road.

The issue came before the city’s Traffic and Parking Commission last week at the request of resident Esdras Freitas.

Public Works Commissioner Louis Mammolette said the situation on Fremont is typical of many of the parking issues throughout the city.

“From a high level perspective, the city largely has very narrow streets, and I think the layout of the streets historically probably predates cars, and it certainly predates the idea that every house would own multiple cars,” said Mammolette. “The one thing that we haven’t changed around here is the width of the roads, and so that continues to be what I think the challenge is. Unless we are going to reduce the number of cars, then we’ve got to find a way to have more parking.”

One way to do that, Mammolette said, is to convert two-way streets into one-way streets. 

Mammolette acknowledged that converting neighborhood streets to one-way roads could meet with some pushback, and said there would have to be studies to determine the mobility of the neighborhood around Fremont Street and other areas in town before making any changes.

As for Fremont Street itself, Mammolette said there were a number of specific challenges affecting parking, including that the area is on a hill with the roads laid out parallel with the slope coming down the hill.

“That means the backyards cut in perpendicular to the slope,” he said. “Essentially, this is a road in one particular stretch that requires a retaining wall to keep the road from falling into the backyards, so it already suffers from the misplacement of its layout.”

In addition, there is any area where there is a stretch where there is no sidewalk, and cars potentially park on the retaining wall area, which could create a hazard if the retaining wall is not built with the intention of bearing vehicles.

“Allowing cars to park there … is something we should eliminate,” said Mammolette. “One solution might be to construct a sidewalk to reconnect the pedestrian pathway and allow parking to be inside the curb, just like any other street with parking on both sides of the street, and to convert the street from two-way travel to one-way travel.”

Like many of the narrower neighborhood streets in the city, Mammolette said it is nearly impossible for two cars to travel down the road on either side when there is parking on both sides of the street.

He suggested the traffic commission, public works, and the community development department work together to try to understand the traffic flow through the streets in the neighborhood to make that plan happen. Any changes would also need input from the police and fire departments to make sure there were not any negative public safety impacts.

In addition, Mammolette said the city would need a professional engineering evaluation of the area before any changes were proposed or made.

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