By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — "I don't know how we can satisfy anybody or everybody in this situation," said City Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6), responding to a request from residents to prohibit on-street parking along Haven Avenue, one of a thicket of short, narrow streets north of Methodist Circle at The Weirs.
After hearing from residents speaking both for and against the request, the committee agreed to table it pending further study of parking in the neighborhood. Haven Avenue is one of four streets — Janes Avenue, Thompson Avenue and Morris Avenue are the others — running north and south within a quadrangle bounded on the north by Coolidge Avenue, which has been closed, on the east by Allen Avenue, on the south by Centenary Avenue and on the west by Fisk Avenue, a rutted, dirt track. All four streets, along with Allen Avenue and Fisk Avenue, run from Centenary Avenue and dead end at Coolidge Avenue, which parallels the waterfront.
"The whole road is turning into a parking lot," Cynthia Vera told the Government Operations and Ordinances Committee this week. She said that she has been corresponding with city officials for the past two years, stressing that her primary concern is ensuring access for emergency vehicles.
Anthony DiCalogero, a longtime resident who owns the properties at 14 and 16 Haven Avenue, said that the problems began some years ago when he Department of Public Works closed Coolidge Avenue, creating the dead end streets. He said that cars parked on Haven Avenue blocked either the street or his driveway, sometimes for more than an hour. At the same time, he said that because entering Haven Avenue had to turn around to leave the street, his car has been bumped. Along with prohibiting on-street parking, DiCalogero said Coolidge Avenue should be reopened to improve the flow of traffic. He suggested people renting properties in the neighborhood are the source of most of the problems.
Laurie Sanborn of 17 Haven Ave. flatly opposed restricting parking. She said that because her garage is too small for a car, she purchased the property on the understanding automobiles could be parked on the street. Without through-traffic, she said that although the street is narrow, just 16 feet wide, on-street parking "is not an issue." Without it, she continued, the properties on the street would lose value. She was echoed by Deborah Lumsden of 18 Haven Ave., who told the committee that there would be no further development on street.
Dianne Vercammen of 36 Centenary Ave. cautioned the committee "You're opening up a whole can of worms." She explained that prohibiting parking on one street in the neighborhood would add to the number of vehicles parked on nearby streets, which, like Haven Avenue, are short and narrow. City Manager Scott Myers likened the effect to squeezing one part of a balloon only to cause it to bulge somewhere else.
The committee appeared more inclined to grant a request to ban parking on both sides of Centenary Avenue. Andrew Giovanni, who lives across the street from the Akwa Marina at the north end of the street, said that before the marina was built there was no parking on either side of the street, but since then cars have parked on both sides of the street.
The Mailloux family, who own the marina, did not object to restoring the prohibition, but reminded the committee that the north end of Centenary Avenue serves as a loading zone for the marina. The committee was assured that stopping times would be kept to a minimum.
With little discussion, the committee recommended prohibiting on-street parking on Moulton Street, a dead-end street paralleling Union Avenue and the WOW Trail between Cantin Chevrolet and the conference center at Lake Opechee Inn and Spa. The City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
Myers said Thursday that he met with Luke Powell, assistant director of Public Works, and would be offering recommendations to the committee.