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Dormont council moves to remedy parking problem

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Parking is limited on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, along Peermont Avenue in Dormont.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Driveways cut into the amount of on-street parking that’s available on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, on Waltham Avenue in Dormont.

Dormont got a free — but unflattering — assessment of its residential parking problems from a trio of Carnegie Mellon University graduate students last summer, but township officials have moved slowly to make improvements.

Council moved to change that on Monday, directing borough staff to start testing recommendations such as moving around on-street parking, extending permit parking enforcement and changing traffic patterns.

“The Carnegie Mellon study was very comprehensive, lots of big changes all at once,” said council President Bill McCartney. “We're going to go a bit more incrementally.”

Borough Manager Jeff Naftal said he and his staff will pick four or five streets for changes. The streets either have parking on one side and are wide enough to accommodate traffic and parking on the other side of the street, or they have parking on one side but could fit more spaces around driveways and intersections if the spaces were shifted to the other side of the street.

“I'd like to have the list of streets by next month's meeting,” Naftal said. “We'd have to notify the residents of each street, have to do striping — it's not going to happen overnight.”

One example of a street that could get more parking if spaces are shifted to the other side would be Beacon Hill Avenue, McCartney said. Parking is only allowed on the side of the street that has about nine driveways or curb cuts between Peermont and Biltmore avenues, even though the other side has only about five driveways.

A new setup would be tested on those streets to determine whether parking could be improved without affecting traffic. Council then could try changes recommended in the study and reviewed by the borough's traffic and parking planning commission, McCartney said.

The CMU study estimated that Dormont needed about 980 more parking spaces to meet demand, and it made recommendations including changing two-way streets with parking on one side to one-way streets with parking on both sides, or expanding permit parking areas and enforcement hours to keep residents from having to compete with shoppers for parking in the evenings.

The parking planning commission and Naftal recommended expanding residential parking permits to the entire borough and enforcing the permits all the time, since most of the parking crunch occurs when residents are at home on evenings and weekends.

Naftal did not anticipate changing any traffic patterns yet, just moving or adding parking.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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