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April 24, 2007 > New Senior Center faces parking dilemma

New Senior Center faces parking dilemma

By Diana Marroquin

Last Tuesday's Milpitas council meeting was a mix of efficiency and confusion, when council spent a large portion of the evening on the issue of funding and parking spaces for the planned Senior Center expansion.

What began as a routine review and approval of Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funding for Fiscal Year 2007 - 2008, ended in a 3-2 decision to defer approval of the CIP budget until further review of the parking situation. Council will revisit the issue May 1, its next regularly-scheduled meeting. By then, city staff will have completed a more detailed parking impact study.

Planning staff provided a relatively straight-forward presentation of upcoming CIP projects, but council discussions hung-up around simple questions of parking space availability to accommodate increased traffic flow from an expanded Senior Center.

When asked, consultants were unable to provide an approximation of traffic flow at the site. Lengthy, and often tedious, questioning from councilmembers to city staff failed to clarify the problem. Finally, well past 10 p.m., a certain measure of resolve emerged, leading to the decision to defer the matter to council's next gathering. The primary concern seemed to revolve around council's reluctance to approve monies for an expanded Senior Center if high volume traffic increases occurred. Congestion is already a problem from the businesses operating adjacent to City Hall and the current library - the building slated for remodeling and expansion as the new Senior Center.

Several councilmembers voiced their hopes of avoiding the scenario of senior citizens walking long distances from inconvenient parking spaces located several blocks away. A majority of councilmembers asked for further study to help determine whether additional funding might be necessary for the expansion project, money to build a separate parking garage.

The item will be on the agenda again, May 1 at 7 p.m.

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