I had no specific agenda when I became president, preferring instead to become familiar with issues that were current and ongoing. Soon, however, it became apparent to me that the most glaring issues were the new development surrounding King William and expansion of commercial establishments, the consequences of which were parking congestion, safety and enforcement problems, and First Friday. Over a dozen eating establishments are in King William and Lavaca, but few of these have adequate parking options. Thus, many patrons must share parking spaces on the public streets with our residents, creating the congestion. Other important issues that came to my attention were finding a new building for the KWA, repairing and renting the old KWA building, and formulating a plan for our financial future. Committees were formed to get information and address these pressing issues, as described in previous Newsletters.
The engulfment of King William by growth and development is a fact; we cannot change that. And the KWA cannot solve the problems of parking, transportation, safety and enforcement alone – another fact. We must coordinate our efforts with the City. Toward that end, the Parking and Transportation joint committee with the Lavaca Neighborhood Association has worked tirelessly on the issue of parking, and has gathered information on our streets, conducted surveys of both neighborhoods, explored potential parking options, and explored some solutions.
With the committee findings in hand, KWA requested a meeting with City Manager Cheryl Sculley to see if the City could work with us on finding parking and transportation solutions. Sculley directed City Center Development & Operations Director Lori Houston to meet with us to continue the dialogue between KWA and the City. Cherise Bell, Rose Kanusky (Committee Chair), Lavaca President Jeff McPherson and I met with Lori Houston and staff on June 9. It was clear that Lori’s team had investigated our parking issues, and they came to the meeting to offer some possible options.
Among those are: residential decals like those instituted on Arsenal St.; expanding the event decals currently used in Lavaca to King William; bundling unused city-owned parking lots to be managed by a transportation provider contracted by the city; turning the green space along Cesar Chavez between S. St. Mary’s and S. Alamo into a parking lot to accommodate approximately 90 spaces; and exploring locations for parking garages. KWA asked for a thorough parking and transportation study, something we had previously requested from the City but that yielded little useful information. Both parties are to explore the cost of such a study. We also took the opportunity to express our concerns about First Friday.
A good constructive dialogue has been opened with City, and we were encouraged that they brought some options to the table.