The Elkhart Board of Works approved removing the 12 parking spots in front of the Elkhart post office, but now the backup lights are on and you can hear the beeping.
It’s not clear how far the city intends to back up, whether it’s doing a U-turn or just changing course.
It’s not clear and that’s OK. But what is needed is a clear plan.
Mayor Tim Neese got feedback on the possibility of removing the 12 spaces in front of the post office. While they’re perhaps the most-used spaces on all of Main Street, traffic there backs up due to two sets of train tracks and how Harrison Street crosses Main in a disjointed way. There’s also a curve and a street that connects in an odd way along the post office parking lot.
Richard Wolf, an advocate for the disabled community, has been calling for handicapped parking downtown. He might be right that more spaces are needed. Neese should at least listen to Wolf’s concerns.
Officials might add two handicapped-accessible spots with a curb ramp outside the post office, and that would be smart.
What’s not clear is what should happen as a whole. It might be time to put the gearshift in park and figure it out.
With the stopping and starting that’s already happened on the process, it’s time to come up with a plan. A good plan that can be presented and acted on.
It doesn’t need to go to Elkhart City Council and bog down there, but this merits a more comprehensive effort than what’s been apparent so far.
Is there some way to have parking spaces in front of the post office, either for those with disabilities or anyone who needs to run in and pick up mail?
Is there a way to improve traffic flow as it comes into the heart of downtown from the south or as it approaches the train tracks from the north?
Is there a way to do both?
So far, the board’s decision was to remove parking to improve traffic. Then the mayor asked the board to reconsider because of the need for handicapped parking.
Traffic is an issue. So is parking. The city should deal with both, and in a comprehensive way before new signs are put up or new paint is put down.
Come up with a plan, a map so to speak, before the whole thing rolls forward.