MARTINEZ -- Joan Cassidy uses a traffic cone to block people visiting the popular Martinez swimming pool from parking in front of her house.
Some of her neighbors place their trash cans at the curb, even on days the garbage isn't collected, so they'll have somewhere to park when they get home from work.
Cassidy, who lives on the 400 block of Talbart Street directly across from Rankin Aquatic Center, said few people visited the old pool. But since the $5.8 million facility opened last summer, Cassidy said crowds of people seeking relief from the heat are flocking to the residential neighborhood -- and taking up most of the parking spaces on surrounding streets. Weekends and swim meet days are just brutal, she added.
"I don't begrudge the pool being successful. I think that's great; it's a gorgeous pool," said Cassidy, as she sat on her screened-in porch. "But it does present problems for us."
In addition to homeowners, Cassidy said the tight parking also inconveniences visitors, delivery trucks and contractors. Gino DiTullio, who lives next door, said he had to park several blocks away on Main Street during a recent swim meet.
"People come from work and every space is taken," DiTullio said. "Where are we going to park, downtown? And then when everybody leaves you go and pick up your car? It's not fair."
Many people heading to the pool cross at the intersection of Talbart and Buckley streets. Neighbors worry that someone
Residents say the city should do something to relieve the congestion, even though they acknowledge that pool visitors have a right to park on a public street. They believe an easy and inexpensive approach would be to post signs telling visitors there is a 50-space parking lot at Rankin Park, which sits at the top of the hill behind the swimming pool.
When Cassidy and a couple of her neighbors brought the issue up before the City Council twice last month, Mayor Rob Schroder seemed sympathetic to the neighbors' concerns.
"I think we can probably get creative and think of some ways to help you out," said Schroder, adding that signs or resident-only parking spaces might work.
But four weeks later, Cassidy said nothing has changed. She hasn't heard anything from the city.
"I don't want to get up there and berate people, and yet, when you talk about it and then you hear absolutely nothing, you kind of rethink. So I don't know what my next move is," she said.
Schroder is out of town, but City Manager Phil Vince said a sign simply encouraging people to park in the Rankin Park lot wouldn't work. However, if the residents' safety concerns are borne out by observation, the city may have grounds to put in a stop sign, designate a no parking zone or enact some other remedy.
Vince vowed to place the issue on the next agenda of the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee. But the committee usually meets every two months, and Vince isn't sure when its next meeting is scheduled. Recreational swimming ends Sept. 16 and the pool closes for the season on Sept. 28.
Cassidy isn't satisfied with Vince's response.
"I can't see the harm of having a sign in the first place to have people park up there, I think that's such an easy thing to do," she said. "What does (Vince) think should be done about all the parking down here? Does he think we should just live with it for four months? If that is basically how he feels, then I think he's going to have a fight on his hands because we are not pleased."
Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.