ATL. HIGHLANDS – The governing body failed to approve parking on Ocean Blvd. at its meeting Thursday night, after numerous residents, primarily from Ocean Blvd and the surrounding area, voiced strong objections to the proposal recommended by the police chief and the Parking Committee.
With many residents saying additional parking on the county road would take away from its beauty, noting it has always been known as Scenic Drive, residents voiced objections for safety reasons as well, saying it presents hazards for bikers and raises the danger of children darting into traffic from behind parked cars.
Tim Riley, Fifth Avenue said parking on the lower section of Ocean Blvd. would put an unnecessary and dangerous squeeze on that section of the road and termed the possibility a “terrible idea.”
Ashley Cruse of Wesley Ave said she opposed it because the road is a scenic byway and “we shouldn’t ruin it.”
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Allan Dean, who described his home as in the back yard of Ocean Blvd. on Second Ave., opposed parking for several reasons, including the frequent violations of the 25 mile per hour speed limit which create problems, the difficulty in getting from Ocean Blvd. to First Avenue because of the parking in front of the laundromat, and the dangers to pedestrians. He spoke of snow-covered sidewalks during the winter and reminded council that few residents, if any, are speaking in favor of allowing parking.
Tracy Brown of Ocean Blvd. also opposed the additional parking for several reasons including it would make the area “unfriendly to walkers.” She questioned why accommodations for more parking could not be made on First Avenue. Thomas Moore told council “it is a really bad thing to do” for safety reasons and suggested the governing body “leave it alone.”
Steve Graziano, Ocean Blvd. said his home is “in the back yard” but indicated concern for cyclists coming down the scenic road at speeds of 30 miles per hour.
Chris Keelen, E. Highland Ave, spoke in favor of the additional parking, pointing out it had been suggested by the parking committee, approved by Council and “what’s the difference? This is a red herring.” Keelen said the road “is not in my back yard, but I support” the parking addition.
With almost 50 residents attended the virtual meeting and the majority of comments opposed to the proposed code, the governing body moved to withdraw the proposed ordinance by a unanimous vote.