Graham Mayor Barry White will be signing a formal request to have the Texas Department of Transportation overlay and restripe Elm Street between Fourth and Second streets, eliminating the parking lane on the west side of Elm and expanding the parking lane on the east side of the street. 

“It’s very seldom that you ever see anybody park on the west side of Elm,” said White at the May 8 city council meeting. “The only time I ever park there is if I’m going south on Elm and I remember I need to run across there and get something. From a safety standpoint, you park over there and then you run across the street dodging traffic.”

“Just getting out of your car is a crapshoot,” replied Mayor Pro Tem Jack Graham.

During the meeting, City Manager David Casteel and Chamber of Commerce/Conventions and Visitor’s Bureau CEO Jennifer Conway provided logistical assessments to the council.  

“On Elm Street we want TxDOT to consider changing up the parking there so we only have parking on the business side of Elm Street and not the Square side, making the business side safer,” Casteel said, adding that the inner perimeter of the Square could also be evaluated for two-way driving viability. 

Casteel hopes the parking lane on the east side of Elm Street can be expanded from 7.4 feet to 10 feet by eliminating the west-side parking lane. The adjustment would allow drivers to exit their cars more easily, he said. 

Conway talked to representatives from nine businesses on the Downtown Square to get their opinions on the parking situation. 

“When I asked them if they really saw any useage on a day-to-day basis of the west side of the parking, the Square side, they said ‘rarely’ unless it was special events,” she reported. “I’ve watched it, and it’s just been a car here and there because it’s convenient. The only time I’ve really seen it (used) is for Lion’s Club.”

Conway expressed that allowing two-way traffic inside of the Square would change that limited usage by eliminating the requirement to drive around the entire square to park inside.  

“It was a pretty strong response that they thought this would be a great move,” said Conway.

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.