Neighborhood association gets fed up with noisy, littering bar patrons; councilwoman backs solution
Parking for Lower Greenville Avenue bar patrons is about to get a lot more difficult on weekends.
Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt will preside Saturday over the dedication of two more streets adjacent to the entertainment district as resident parking only on weekend nights. That brings the total number of streets near the Lower Greenville Avenue bars to be converted to resident only parking to seven.
And that’s just the start of the street conversions that the Belmont Neighborhood Association has in mind, according to Avi S. Adelman, vice president of the group.
The action impacts LGBT residents because Lower Greenville Avenue is home to one gay bar, and many of the straight bars attract gay and lesbian customers. There are also many gay and lesbian residents living in East Dallas who could benefit from the street conversions.
“It is not anti-bar,” said Adelman, a neighborhood activist who has long been viewed as a pest by bar owners in the entertainment district. “This is pro-neighborhood. We are tired of trash, noise and the ruckus they cause.”
Adelman said the neighborhood association plans to get all of the streets adjacent to the entertainment district converted to resident parking only. Plans are already underway for six more streets to be converted, he said.
Signs will be posted warning that parking is allowed by residents only Thursday through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. City-issued permits must be displayed in the cars identifying them as resident owned to avoid towing.
Adelman said after years of battling bar patrons and bar owners, he has come to realize this is the only way to keep the neighborhood safe from the estimated 7,000 people who come into the entertainment district every weekend.
“Fine, you can go party, but not on our street,” Adelman said. “Yes, the streets belong to everyone, but we just bought a license to not let you park. As a matter of fact, I do own the damn street.”
Adelman said he is thinking about getting a T-shirt printed with that very message.
Councilwoman Hunt said the conversion of the streets to resident parking appears to be the only solution.
“Unfortunately, for many years some bar patrons have been very disrespectful of the neighborhood and the residents who live there,” Hunt said. “They park deep into the neighborhood. They are loud. They throw bottles on the ground. I’ve seen this with my own eyes.”
The street conversions will push bar patrons out of the neighborhood, Hunt said.
“I think that’s a very positive thing,” Hunt said. “Until we get a more appropriate balance of bars, retail establishments and restaurants, we’re going to continue to see conflicts between the bars and neighborhoods.”
In the last decade, Lower Greenville Avenue has become primarily a bar scene. Many of the bars serve food, but their nighttime business is primarily a club scene.
Both Hunt and Adelman acknowledge that the street conversions may likely cause bar patrons to park further away, causing problems for residents on other East Dallas streets. Those residents may be forced to seek similar solutions, they said.
“That may be the case,” Hunt said. “We have to extend the resident only parking further into the neighborhood. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
To get a street designated as resident parking only, a petition must be signed by 66 percent of the property owners. The property owners are responsible for purchasing the signs and the car permits, which runs about $400 per street.
Adelman said the neighborhood association is funding the cost for the streets currently being converted. The money came from an auction of the old Arcadia theater sign that was donated to the neighborhood association.
The Arcadia building, an old theater that was converted into a nightclub, burned in June 2006. The building was razed, and a plant nursery now operates on the vacant block.
Adelman said there is enough money available to help convert any street in the area where it is needed.
“If we have a street that wants it, we’ll pay the whole way,” Adelman said.
“I’m going to work whatever deal I can to help them.”
The street conversion dedication will be held at 5820 Prospect Ave., Saturday at 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 11, 2008