Two ordinances proposed for Affinity
By Scott Bellile
Two proposed city ordinances would free up street parking next to the Affinity Medical Group clinic.
Affinity Medical Group, 1420 Algoma St., at the intersection of Algoma and Evergreen streets, has a parking issue that stems from a shortage of stalls in its parking lot.
According to a March 27 letter from Affinity addressed to the city, the clinic has 43 parking stalls. Half or more of those are taken up by staff, often leaving fewer than 20 stalls to accommodate patients.
The clinic averages 100 to 200 patients a day who check in for appointments every five to 30 minutes.
Affinity’s letter states patients have complained of a lack of adequate parking, and some end up parking blocks away.
City Administrator Kent Hager told the New London Board of Public Works on May 1 that patients traditionally used Algoma Street in front of the clinic as overflow parking. However, the street filled up with vehicles belonging to employees of ThedaCare Medical Center-New London after ThedaCare banned smoking in its parking lot and workers wanted a place to park and smoke, Hager said. The east side of Algoma Street currently has no parking limitations, meaning these vehicles remain there all day.
The New London Board of Public Works recommended the following parking restrictions to the city council on June 5 to correct Affinity’s parking issues:
• The 183-foot stretch on the east side of Algoma Street, from Affinity’s driveway to the start of the ThedaCare property line, would become two-hour parking. This stretch borders the west side of the Affinity parking lot. (The stretch from ThedaCare to Douglas Street, as well as the Algoma/Evergreen street corner that contains mailboxes, will both remain no parking.)
• The north side of Evergreen Street, from Mill Street to Algoma Street, will become two-hour parking during business hours on weekdays and Saturdays. This stretch borders the south side of the Affinity parking lot.
• Parking will be prohibited on the south side of Evergreen Street from Mill Street to Algoma Street. This is currently two-hour parking.
Under city ordinance in the past, there actually was a two-hour parking limit on the north side of Evergreen Street and no parking allowed on the south side.
New London Public Works Director Jeff Bodoh said during a road construction project in 2011, the ordinance was reversed to no parking on the north side and two-hour parking on the south side. The city forgot to change it back. The amended ordinance would accomplish this.
Amending the ordinance to prohibit parking on the south side of Evergreen Street would also provide relief to homeowners on the south side who have complained of traffic issues due to all the Affinity patients’ cars parked there, Bodoh said. The north side does not contain housing.
Parking will remain 24 hours on the west side of Algoma Street (the southbound lane) in front of the clinic.
Bodoh said ThedaCare and Affinity’s parent company Ascension both agreed to the ordinances.
“Well, this’ll help stop that evil smoking issue too, won’t it?” New London Mayor Gary Henke joked at the board of public works meeting June 5.
Committee members in attendance laughed before Bodoh replied, “Eh, I don’t think you’re going to stop that.”
The ordinances were set to undergo review by the New London City Council Tuesday, June 13. Both are expected to be in place by July.