Who is responsible for downtown streets?
Anyone who walks down Main Street in downtown Minden can easily notice that the striping on the historic brick road has seen better days. Portions of the center line, crosswalk, and parallel parking lines range from spotty to nonexistent.
This lack of boundary clarity can potentially create problems for downtown businesses who depend on the Main Street parking. Thomas Adams owns Main Street Barber Shop, and his wife Alicia owns Hers Bridal and Special Occasions, both of which have parking on Main.
“It’s not so much a problem at the barber shop as it is at the bridal store,” Adams said. “When they can’t see the lines, sometimes people take up two spots, and the bridal shop only has three spots.”
Main Street is part of the state-controlled highway US 79. If the parking lines were to be repainted, it is unclear whose responsibility that would be after conflicting reports have surfaced from official sources.
Minden Mayor Tommy Davis said the only duty the City of Minden assumed from the state in order to keep the bricks on Main was the upkeep of the actual bricks.
“This was before my time [as mayor], but from what I know, when we wanted to keep the bricks, the City of Minden told the state that we will maintain the bricks themselves,” Davis said. “But I do not believe we do the striping – it is still a state highway.”
Erin Buchanan, public information officer for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said there is a plan in the works to paint some lines on Main Street, but not parking lines.
“The issue of re-striping the brick section of US 79 through downtown Minden has been discussed for some time,” she said. “There are plans for our District traffic crews to re-stripe the center line, crosswalk, and stop bars.
Additionally, DOTD does not paint or provide street parking on state highways.”
Buchanan said the burden of providing parking falls on the city.
“This is generally executed through a permit with the local municipality,” she said. “So the City of Minden will be responsible for re-striping any parking spots along the downtown section.”
Buchanan added the DOTD could also stripe the road’s edge lines if the City of Minden provided traffic control for the work.
Drew White, an Edward Jones financial advisor located on Main Street, said he has not heard any complaints from his clients about the parking lines. However, as a former Minden city councilman, he said he understands why the city might be hesitant to paint the lines.
“The city, in my experience, they take pains to do what they can while taking pains to not do more than is legally their responsibility,” White said. “They have enough on their hands paying for everything the city pays for. And that’s just a budget thing – being a good steward.”