Three words to save your sanity: Resident Parking Only

If you caught the late Friday evening News8 story about all the valet parking violations they (easily) found along Lower Greenvile, you also heard three little words that can solve the scumbar parking problem forever: Resident Parking Only.

The piece showed how the valets at Terelli's were using head-in parking spaces at Colonial Bank across the street without a city permit and were blocking two empty lots on Vickery so - gasp! - no one could get free parking. It could not show how you are forced to pay some kid with pimples to park your car in a space that is supposed to be free, as if they could tell you which spaces met the City's free and clear off-street parking requirement.

The story continued by showing how the residents on 5600 Vickery Boulevard, just yards away from Terelli's, took control of their street in 1999 using the City's Resident Parking Only ordinance. Yes, you too can buy peace and quiet for less than $400.

But in 2007, there are ways to get RPO on your street and possibly not have to pay for it.

Just days after 5600 Vickery went RPO, Jeanne Terelli tried to have the RPO ordinance changed. She marched herself down to City Hall and tried to get her BGF Mary Poss and others to revise the law so that her valets could use the now-empty street for patron parking (something that had been going on for years anyway). That stupid idea got Jeanne's free parking ticket at City Hall invalidated for a few days.

The City's claim that they will hold classes for valet parking services every quarter is going to be a waste of time. Did anyone bother revising the valet parking ordinance so that attendance would be mandatory in order to keep the permit? Does anyone remember the permit is issued to the restaurant or bar, not the valet service? I did not think so.

RPO is not that difficult to secure, if you don't mind getting two-thirds of your neighbors to sign a petition and pay $50 for the survey. If you pass the City's survey (number of cars on the street owned by residents vs the number of cars owned by non-residents, divided by the number of possible parking spaces, etc), then you have to go back to your neighbors and collect the $42 for each RPO sign (usually four or five per block). And finally, each resident has to buy hangtags ($6 each, six per house per year).

Back in 1999 and 2000, BD and others helped raise the funds for RPO all over our end of Lower Greenville. The folks at the faux-Lower Greenville West NA won't remember that BD worked his ass off to get the money for RPO on 1900 and 2000 Summit, plus 5700 Sears. Another neighbor on the other side of Lower Greenville paid for RPO on 5700 Oram, and a Lakewood resident put up the $350 for RPO on 1900 Hope Street.

This ain't 1999 anymore, but we still have the same problems. The City stopped caring until BD and WFAA posted videos of this insanity. But now, there's one big difference (depending on where you live).

The Belmont Neighborhood Association will provide the financial and logistical support for neighbors on any street within their boundaries who want RPO. BNA will do the property owner research, contact the owners, and prepare the RPO petitions. BNA will pay the full expense - petitions, signs, and two hangtags for two years per house - for the RPO process (a total of almost $400 per street, one-time charge).

As we write, two RPO petitions are already at City Hall, and two more are very close to being filed (we just won't tell you what streets).

A property owner on one of these streets sent this note to BD, asking that it be passed on to all BNA residents considering ROP:

Any street that does not have RPO will soon become intolerable to live on.

Since parking on the other streets in the immediate vicinity will not be allowed either now or in the near future, all the cars will now be funneled onto the streets that do not have an RPO and make evenings there unbearable.

This will ultimately have a substantial impact on the quality of life and, of course, property values.

I have nothing against any of the businesses on Greenville or their patrons. I just do not want them to carry their reveling onto my street.

Please help us to get RPO as soon as possible so our neighborhood can have the quality of life that we all want for ourselves, our families, and our properties.

This is not a slam-dunk process. Forget passing the survey, you have to fight City Hall too.

The current RPO coordinator is not happy that a neighborhood association wants to act as a sponsor for the RPO process, insisting that someone on the street be the contact person.

Hey, isn't that what the petition signatures are for - to prove that no arms were twisted before signing the petition. If BD is the local RPO expert, then he can be BNA's RPO coordinator too. You got questions, we got the answers!

BD thinks this stalwart defender of the status quo is reconsidering his position. Five minutes (we timed it) after BD sent a stinging email about this guy's attitude to Council Member Angela Hunt's office (copied to him), this guy was calling BD's cellphone.

BD ignored the call, hoping he would leave a voicemail, which he didn't. To date, this coordinator has not replied in writing to the email'd complaint, but BD suggests he get his story together before any more RPO petitions show up on his desk.

If you live within the LGNA boundaries, you have a bigger problem - The LGNA.

LGNA absolutely opposes RPO and will do anything possible to keep you from having a successful petition drive (something about not wanting to violate the Prime Directive - If you don't look at a problem, then how can say you have one?)

If you live within LGWNA's boundaries, remember that five people run your neighborhood and do not want you to have an independent thought in your head (or any new developments in the neighborhood).

There's only a handful of streets in VPNA's territory that need RPO, but that could change very quickly.

If you live within LGNA, LGWNA or VPNA and think your street can qualify for RPO, call BD. He will help you prepare the petition, talk to the neighbors, draw up the parking diagrams and make sure all the paperwork is written and filed properly. Getting the funds for the petition and signs are your problem, but we will work to find sources for you.

Lower Greenville has not seen a street go RPO in nearly eight years. The BNA has enough money in the Arcadia fund to RPO every street in their area within three years.

What the hell are you waiting for?

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Safe streets