By Julia Gsell
Residents of the Buena Vista neighborhood called Racey Acres continue to ask the city to resolve a parking issue neighbors say is a hazard for the community.
The neighborhood sits on a hill just off of 25th Street. Its main entrance, a narrow road called Racey Drive, runs through the first block of the community before it turns into Edgewood Road. Edgewood makes a loop around the 23-home community and encircles all but two homes. These two homes face each other near the front of the neighborhood on a narrow stretch of Racey Drive.
For the last few months, parked cars from one home have clogged Racey Drive. Community members are worried the cars could prevent emergency vehicles from getting to the rest of the homes in the neighborhood, which includes a number of elderly residents.
Although community members have spoken to the neighbor, they’ve taken their concern to city hall.
“I’m not the youngest, and there are a lot of older people up there,” resident Sally Foshay said at a city council meeting two weeks ago. “What’s going to happen if— heaven forbid— one of us has a heart attack?” she said.
The street is only eight feet wide—fire trucks are eight and a half feet wide.
A spokesperson from the Fire Department said it has never had an issue getting to homes in the area. But, the community has never had a parking issue like this before, resident Johnna Gittemeier said.
“I’ve lived here for 13 years, and Racey Acres has always been a safe place for children and families,” Gittemeier said.
If the parking issue isn’t resolved, Gittemeier and her neighbors are worried EMS and the Fire Department may have trouble reaching residents in the future.
The cars became an issue this summer when a new resident moved into a house at the street’s narrowest section. Two different families have lived in the house in years past. They always parked in the driveway or across the street, said a man who used to live in the neighborhood and wished to remain anonymous.
“Everybody just kind of knew—you don’t park there…It’s a courtesy,” he said.
He said he understands why neighbors like Gittemeier and Foshay are worried. There’s only one other way to get in and out of Racey Acres other than Racey Drive—a steep hill near the middle of the neighborhood.
“With snow, there’s no other way out. The Fire Department wouldn’t be able to get in there even if they wanted to,” he said.
After hearing the complaints, the safety committee and City Manager Jay Scudder added compacted dirt paving to the narrow section of the street. Another neighbor, Ada Branham, said it was put in last week, but is already deteriorating.
Neighbors don’t think this is enough. They want the city to pave the street, not just put gravel down.