With a unanimous vote, the Hyattsville City Council approved a modified version of a set of parking restrictions for two streets near DeMatha Catholic High School.
Now, as soon as the Hyattsville Department of Public Works installs new signage, it will be illegal to park on the 5800 block of 44th Avenue and the 4300 block of Madison Street between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The restrictions are designed to increase pedestrian safety during the school's morning and afternoon rush hours. But some nearby residents complained that the restrictions would unduly burden local residents looking for a legal spot to park.
One 44th street resident who spoke before city council during the public comment period of the meeting complained that under the proposed parking scheme, he would have to move his car twice a day to avoid a ticket if he wanted to park on his street.
Former Hyattsville council member Charles Kenny, a DeMatha graduate who works as an attorney in an office on 44th Street, spoke in favor of the parking restrictions.
"I think it's time to do it," said Kenny to the council. "School starts here in a couple of weeks and we ask your support for this modification."
Fr. James Day, rector at DeMatha, also spoke in favor of the parking restrictions. He said he respected the desire of neighborhood residents to easily park in front of their properties, DeMatha should also be afforded the same consideration along its curbfront property.
"We are asking for four hours a day for the safety of our 900 children," said Day. "We don't want to inconvenience anyone in front of their home, we only ask the same."
Local council-watcher David Marshall critiqued the council's decision to move forward on the matter at last night's meeting. Speaking during the public comment period, Marshall asked the city council "digest" the measure before acting on it. His suggestion was not taken up.
The city council ended up passing the parking restrictions with one small amendment allowing for a small existing residential parking area to remain at the northern end of the 4300 block of 44th Avenue. That residential parking area serves two houses which still occupy the northwest corner of 44th Avenue's intersection with Oglethorpe Street.
This might not be the end of the city's tinkering with the parking scheme in the streets around DeMatha. Some members of city council, including Mayor Marc Tartaro, toyed with the idea of creating a tiny standalone residential parking permit zone to accommodate the concerns of the residents of the northern end of 44th Avenue.