MARSHALL - Neighbors of Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center were in attendance at a meeting of the Marshall City Council Transportation Committee on Monday, voicing concerns about the number of medical workers and patients parking in front of homes on South Bruce Street. But committee members said it wasn't possible to restrict parking on the street to the degree residents wanted.
Most of the meeting's discussion centered around a request to review parking issues on South Bruce Street. At the last Marshall City Council meeting, council member Mike Boedigheimer had requested the parking issue be discussed.
The west side of South Bruce Street, in front of the medical center, is a no-parking zone, while parking is allowed on the residential side of the street, said Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson. Residents along South Bruce Street were requesting the city designate resident-only parking on that side.
About eight people, residents of the South Bruce Street and Horizon Drive neighborhood, were at Monday's meeting. Local residents said during the past 10 years, they have seen increasing numbers of vehicles parked in front of their homes every day, including vehicles belonging to medical workers, patients, and more recently contractors working on construction of a medical office expansion at Avera Marshall. Not only did the situation prevent residential parking, residents said, it also made it dangerously difficult to see oncoming traffic, bikers or pedestrians when pulling out of driveways. When the construction is complete, they said, the volume of people traveling and parking on the street will only increase.
Olson said he spoke with Avera Marshall administration about parking concerns during construction of the new medical office building. Employees have been directed to use the parking lot available on the northwest side of the hospital building, he said.
Olson and transportation committee member Dan Ritter said it wasn't possible to make parking residents-only. South Bruce Street is a public street, they said. While committee member Charlie Sanow said he understood residents' concerns, he added it wouldn't be practical to enforce the private parking rules. It would be hard to tell whether vehicles parked on South Bruce Street belonged to residents or not.
Committee member Larry Doom said he thought the end of construction at the medical center would help lessen the parking problems. The expansion plans include parking spaces, Doom said, and Avera Marshall owns additional property between Charles Avenue and East College Drive which could possibly be developed for parking in the future.
"I think we need to give it some time," Doom said.
Committee members said the city could restrict all parking on the street, or restrict it between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but some residents said they weren't in favor of that.
Doom moved that the committee recommend to the city council that parking designations on South Bruce Street stay the same as they are now, but also to send a letter asking Avera Marshall to designate staff, patient and contractor parking. The motion passed 2-1, with Sanow casting the no vote.