Ask an Official: Merrill City Administrator addresses concerns of downtown angled parking
This week’s featured question was submitted for Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson.
The question reads:
“Why and when was the parking changed downtown from regular to this angled business? It is so dangerous to drive downtown now and we avoid it. That is a shame because we really enjoy visiting the downtown businesses but it’s not worth a car accident or getting hurt. What will it take to switch it back to how it used to be and make downtown safe and enjoyable again? Thank you”
Answer given by City Administrator Johnson:
“The change to angled parking was implemented as a result of concerns from both shoppers and business owners that Main St. parking was insufficient.
“By changing from parallel to angled parking on the north side of Main St. an additional 5 spaces per block were added. Angled parking is not a new concept in downtown Merrill, I know that Main St. had angled parking in the 1940s and 1950s.
“According to the Merrill Police Department, a total of nine vehicle accidents have occurred since 7-1-15 in the downtown area. Four were in parking lots, two were on the south side of Main St. and involved parallel parking issues, one was where three cars were involved in an accident unrelated to parking, one was on the north side where a westbound vehicle struck a vehicle parked in the angled row due to inattentive driving, and only a single accident was a result of someone backing into on-coming traffic.
“I have personally heard much more support for angled parking than opposition to it from both shoppers and business owners until this Winter. Studies in other cities have shown that implementing angled parking narrows the travel lanes of the impacted street and narrower travel lanes can have a traffic calming effect as drivers tend to reduce their speeds. It is easier to pull into an angled parking space than to back into a parallel space. Parallel parking requires more time than angled parking, thus disrupting traffic flow longer. In order to change back to parallel parking the Board of Public Works would need to approve the change”
Have a question or concern you would like to address? Simply send your question or concern to firstname.lastname@example.org along with an indication of which entity your question or concern pertains to. Current participants are the Merrill Police Department, Merrill Fire Department, Tomahawk Police Department, Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator Randy Scholz, Lincoln County Parks and Forestry Director Kevin Kleinschmidt, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson and Merrill Area Housing Authority Director Paul Russell. Please note: Those who submit to the ‘Ask an Official’ feature remain anonymous.