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LETTER: Sidney should curb plans to reduce parking

Between the growth of our local population and the increase in visitors from out of town (shoppers, friends, etc.) it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find a place to park in Sidney. The Town of Sidney’s recently proposed Active Transportation Plan seeks to restructure many of Sidney’s roads by adding bike lanes while removing viable driving space from our roads and parking spaces throughout the town. In total, this proposal would reduce the number of parking spaces in Sidney by approximately 250 locations.

Areas affected by the proposed changes: downtown Fifth Street, from Ocean Avenue to Sidney Avenue (approximately 80 spaces); downtown Bevan Avenue, from Lochside Trail to First Avenue (approximately 70 spaces); Mills Road West, approximately 25 spaces; and Mills Road, approximately 75 spaces.

These changes to our downtown area will greatly impact the availability of access to local businesses and other community resources, such as the medical clinic. Due to several concerns in recent years, local businesses have had some hard times. The reduction in available parking will only harm commerce further.

Some of the proposal’s plans, such as the Mills Road bike lane, will greatly impact the amount of parking available to residents in the area. This will also have a heavy negative impact on visitors, health-care professionals, and staff members of Resthaven Lodge, Amica Beechwood Village, and Sidney All Care, who will now have to reconsider where they park. This will likely lead to an influx of parked cars in local cul-de-sacs and other nearby streets, further clogging up our roads.

Alongside these glaring negative changes to our community, this plan also appears to be poorly thought-out: there seems to be little consideration given to the residents within affected regions (a lack of study on the impact on car owners, or how much parking is required by local residents), inadequate research on regional demographics, and the impact on our more vulnerable residents. A survey seeking public input about this plan is currently available on the Town of Sidney website. The deadline to make your voice heard is March 17.

Lawrence Pazder