Compromise reached on Davids Lane parking

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Most residents of Davids Lane in East Hampton Village, after having pushed for a ban on most parking along their street, have agreed to a compromise proposal that Police Chief Gerard Larsen offered at a Village Board meeting in November.

After the chief’s presentation, the board polled each household on the street on the issue. Most responded favorably to the compromise proposal.

Out of 26 homes, 16 responded by e-mail or mail that they agreed with the chief’s plan to maintain the existing two-hour parking limit at the mouth of Davids Lane near Main Street, add a two-hour parking limit on the Egypt Lane end of the street, near the village nature trail, and limit parking to one hour, instead of the current two hours, on the remainder of the street, but only from May 15 to September 15.

At a Village Board meeting on Friday, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said the board would tackle the issue during a work session in February with the goal of satisfying as many people from Davids Lane as possible.

The two other options in the poll included a year-round one-hour parking limit on the remainder of the street, or no changes to the current two-hour parking restrictions along most of the street, with a section on the east end near the natural trail with no restrictions.

About 12 residents attended last Friday’s board meeting to express their opinions; Lisa Dortch spoke on behalf of the majority, as she has for the last two years. She has called the parking situation in the summer months intolerable, as shoppers and beachgoers, unable to find parking in the village or at the beach,leave their cars along residents’ front lawns. She called for a ban on parking—like those in effect on parallel Pond View, Dunemere, Fithian and Huntting lanes—with exceptions for the areas near the Presbyterian Church and the nature trail near Egypt Lane.

In response to the village poll, the First Presbyterian Church—which has opposed a ban—asked the village to install sidewalks on Davids Lane, extend two-hour parking for all of Davids Lane and allow the church to have Sunday-only parking passes for church members, exempting them from any restrictions.

Dianne Benson, who lives next to the duck pond where the nature trail begins, said at the meeting that she thought there was no parking crisis. “We have never experienced anything inappropriate,” she said. “I’ve heard people say that they can’t even go to the movies anymore with all our parking restrictions.”

Ms. Dortch said that the majority realizes that there are a few residents are not directly affected, or bothered, by what she called the increasingly unsafe conditions on their street. “We understand that some are simply opposed to change,” she said to the board. “We too, wish that our once bucolic lane did not require the protection we are now requesting of you.”

Initially, most residents wanted no parking anywhere on Davids Lane. When the board rejected that option, they asked for no parking except at the two ends of the street, which they asked to be limited to two-hour parking to accommodate churchgoers and the nature trail. The board continued to balk and instead asked Chief Larsen to review the situation.

Chief Larsen said he had developed his parking proposal based on data that the police collected from May 19 to August 31. It showed most people obeyed the two-hour restriction, that parking on the street where there was no limit was sporadic, and the same was true on the Egypt Lane end of the street, except traffic increased on the weekends.

Several residents said at the meeting that, without parking restrictions, Davids Lane would be unsafe, because it served, in effect, as the commercial district’s overflow parking lot.

“The definition of ‘compromise’ contains the words ‘middle-ground’ and ‘happy medium,’” Ms. Dortch said, “which is what we believe the one-hour restriction achieves.”

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