In years past, when station wagons served as ambulances, passage along narrow Hillcrest Avenue in Gainesville might have been OK.
“Super-large, tandem-wheeled SUV-type trucks are used for that kind of thing now,” public works director David Dockery said.
It’s the width of emergency vehicles, as well as trash trucks, that aren’t meshing well with cars and other vehicles parked on either side of the street.
City officials are looking at ways to ease the tight conditions, particularly making Hillcrest one-way, allowing travel only from Ridgewood Terrace to Northside Drive/North Avenue and eliminating parking on one side.
“We sent a letter to the affected property owners to inform them of our proposed plan and ask for comments,” Dockery said.
So far, the one-way option isn’t sitting too well with residents.
“You drive slow … but there never has been any kind of a problem with people actually not being able to get through,” said Vickey Cleghorn, who has lived on the street since 1995.
She’s concerned that making Hillcrest a one-way street will devalue her home, which, she said, was rebuilt, along with others, after the Tornado of ’36 devastated Gainesville.
“But even more important than that is where will I end up being able to park each evening if everyone is parked on one side of the street?” Cleghorn said.
“We’ve got some elderly people on the street. I would hate for them to have to walk a long distance to get to their homes.”
Residents also spoke against the proposal at Tuesday night’s Gainesville City Council meeting.
Lula resident Vince Evans said that on a recent visit to Hillcrest — where his mother lives — he counted 30 cars parked on the street.
“There aren’t 30 parking spaces on one side of the street, so my question is where will the rest of the cars (park)?”
Dockery said officials tentatively were looking to take a proposal to City Council in mid-July.
As a result of the feedback they’re getting from residents, “it might be that we look at another solution … to help alleviate that congestion problem,” he said.
“We are keeping all options open, but (one calls for) looking at a modified parking situation to address some of the concerns by the residents.”
At the same time, the city is looking to make Dyer Street one-way, allowing travel only from Ridgewood Avenue to North Avenue.
“We sent out a similar letter and have had nothing but positive response,” Dockery said. “It just depends on the neighborhood.”