SOUTH PORTLAND – The City Council reversed its original position on parking in Knightville, voting Monday night to allow some angled parking in the business district.

With Councilor Rosemarie De Angelis opposed, the council voted 6-1 to allow angled parking along Ocean Street, but only on the section between E and D streets.

City Manager James Gailey, in a position paper provided to the council before the meeting, said that changing the parking ordinance to allow 45-degree angled parking means that Ocean Street will have to be converted to one-way between E and D streets. The rest of Ocean Street will remain two-way.

There was no discussion among councilors at Monday’s meeting and no comments from the public.

The vote was on a first reading of the proposed change to the parking ordinance. A final vote will be held Oct. 1.

“Over the past several months, discussions have ensued regarding the parking plan for the Knightville District,” Gailey wrote. “The original plan changed the current angled parking to parallel parking. Many of the business owners and residents were not in favor of this change, while other residents were apprehensive with angled parking due to the possible impact that a one-way street would have.”

Business owners started to complain in June, soon after the city began a $3.6 million project to install new sewer, water and gas mains, and new sidewalks on Ocean Street.

The council voted in June to replace angled parking with parallel parking on both sides of Ocean Street.

That prompted some business owners to accuse the city of being unfriendly to business. They argued that angled parking encourages people to park and shop in Knightville, though city officials said parallel parking is safer.

“They want to make this a little yuppieville where you sit around and drink coffee and walk your dog,” Tom Smaha, owner of Legion Square Market, told the Portland Press Herald in June. “They turn around and create this very unfriendly business atmosphere. I’m extremely upset and disappointed the city doesn’t care.”

Earlier this year, business owners collected 600 signatures in favor of maintaining angled parking and submitted those signatures to the council.

During a workshop in August, a majority of councilors indicated they would support angled parking on Ocean Street.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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