Two-year parking ban in Dinkytown reduced accidents

by Seth Woehrle

A two-year parking ban in Dinkytown reduced accidents, eased congestion and improved overall neighborhood safety, according to a study released last week by the Minneapolis Public Works Department.
During the study period, parking was banned to one side of the street between business hours in residential Dinkytown.
The 33-page report showed that the restrictions reduced accidents in the area by improving visibility near intersections and resulted in a “more effective use of daytime on-street parking resources.”
However, according to the study, there was a loss of 190 spaces and an increase in parking outside of the restricted area.
The report did not say whether the increase was from commuters pushed out of Dinkytown or from other causes.
The Marcy-Holmes NRP Transportation Committee, the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association Board of Directors and the Minneapolis Public Works Department conducted the study.
The study was conducted in response to a group of residents who approached the Marcy-Holmes NRP Transportation Committee concerned about a lack of parking and troubled by safety issues.
“There was general congestion in the neighborhood,” said Melissa Bean, a Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association staff member. “It was hard to get down any block. There were people parking up to every corner, so you couldn’t see around intersections.”
The committee drafted a proposal responding to concerns from businesses and residents in the western part of the neighborhood and enacted the parking ban experiment for a two-year period.
Marcy-Holmes resident Mike Jenquin is in favor of the parking ordinances.
“Personally, I like it,” said Jenquin, who lives on 4th Street and 12th Avenue. “It’s less congestion.”
The Dinkytown Business Association, against the experiment in 1998, was concerned that a lack of parking might have negative effects on business.
Dan Zielske, president of the DBA and owner of Espresso Royale, said that the association still feels the same way.
“We would like to see it lifted,” said Zielske.
Zielske added that there has been some anecdotal evidence that business has been lost as a result of the parking restrictions.
Shaun Vellek, general manager of Minnesota Athletic Apparel Inc. in Dinkytown, takes a broad view of the issue:
“There’s just no way to keep a neighborhood happy and keep a business district happy and keep the students happy at the same time.”

Seth Woehrle welcomes comments at swoehrl[email protected]. He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3214.