No more parking on First Street

With the repavement and the implementation of CalTrans regulations of a “complete street” that allows for bike lanes and wider roadways, the City Council has voted to remove all parking along the route in the future.

As the First Street waterline project continues, the city is making plans for the CalTrans repaving that will reach from Santa Teresa Boulevard to Leavesley Road.

“In order to implement the proposed complete streets improvements and provide a cohesive design along the corridor without widening the roadway, it would be necessary to prohibit all on-street parking along the project limits of First Street and Monterey Street,” said the staff report. “Removing on-street parking would also provide safety benefits by improving sight distance at driveways, making pedestrian crossings more visible, and eliminating the situation where bicyclists may collide with car doors opening into the bike lane.”

The city distributed an online survey to residents to measure the use of parking along First Street.

The staff report warned that if the resolution to take out street parking were adopted at a later date, it would no longer be funded by CalTrans and city funds would have to be used. “The cost of installing buffered Class II bike lanes would be the city’s responsibility, and would cost the city an estimated $400,000,” the report said.

With the First Street modifications and the addition of bike lanes, the road will connect with the existing bike trail network in Gilroy. Because the repavement is funded by CalTrans, the city must adhere to the CalTrans “complete street” model which requires “Class II buffered bike lanes, green bike lane striping at conflict points, high-visibility crosswalks, and pedestrian-activated traffic control devices which include the rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) and high-intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) beacon.”

The city conducted surveys of Gilroy residents to assess parking patterns downtown and along First Street. The study found that the street has a 22 percent utilization of parking, but there are always enough spots available in the parking lots to accommodate the street parked cars.