Two downtown Toledo business people were joined by a third businessman in trying to convince the Toledo City Council to drop plans to take away another pair of parking spaces near the Wieting Theatre. One set had ben eliminated last November and a second set was to have no parking lines painted.
Mary Ann Gardner, long-time owner of the Trojan Inn Cafe and Tom Wilkerson, owner of Wilkerson Hardware and Loren Dostal, Dostal Construction owner, voiced objections to the plan.
Originally the then-seated council decided in November, 2013, to eliminate two parking spots on the south side of East High Street on both sides at the Church Street intersection.
The above photo illustration gives some sense of the parking prohibition issue in downtown Toledo. Two angles spaces are affected in this view with the camera positioned at a passenger car driver’s eye level looking west from the Church Street stop sign. Business owners again voiced their opposition to the loss of the spaces which are being changed as a safety measure.
Mark Tanke, a Wieting Theatre Guild member, had brought concerns to the council on Oct. 28 about traffic visibility at High and Church streets. He said more activities at the theatre since the $1.4 million renovation project has increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area. He warned then "some kid is going to get hurt or killed" and suggested making the intersection, which is adjacent to the theatre, a four-way stop. Currently East High is a through street and north-south traffic stops on Church Street.
The business people all objected to the plan because of their need for customer parking.
Gardner said "people will go elsewhere" if there's no parking available. She said she had been in business downtown for more than 50 years and the cafe owner for over 30 years and could not recall an accident at the intersection.
Wilkerson proposed the use of a four-way stop sign to be rolled out during theatre events such as schools use.
Dostal said the High Street intersection at Main Street near the U.S. Post Office had less visibility than at Church Street.
Council members Travis Mullen and Brian Sokol said their concern was the earlier council action recognized potential risk at the intersection and, if changed, would expose the city to liability if there were an incident.
City Attorney Mike Marquess outlined this possibility if a matter entered into legal proceedings.
At the end of the lengthy discussion, something of a compromise was reached on a 3-2 council voice vote.
The second parking spot to be eliminated will, instead, be designated for parking for "passenger cars only." This was believed to add to visibility by prohibiting the parking of large pickup trucks or vans.
Voting for the passenger car plan were council members Jeff Filloon, Joe Boll and Terry Goodhart. Members Mullen and Sokol voted "no."