Updated: July 29
The pickleball craze has hit Claybell Park in Meadow Springs, but not everyone is thrilled.
About 50 residents met with Richland city officials on June 27 for a neighborhood town hall to discuss problems with the increase in park usage.
Nearby residents of the south Richland park requested the meeting to discuss solutions to speeding vehicles that endangered other motorists and pedestrians.
They were also concerned that pickleball players and others were parking on Broadmoor Street instead of on park property, making longer walks for the letter carrier, partially blocking driveways and interfering with garbage pickup.
A “comfortable exchange” with an “easy tone,” in the shade of the trees at the park, is how Public Works Director Pete Rogalsky described the meeting to Richland city councilmembers at their July 26 workshop.
Rogalsky said that former Parks and Public Facilities Director Joe Schiessl, recently promoted to deputy city manager, led the meeting that was also attended by City Manager Jon Amundson and a representative from the Richland Police Department.
Councilmember Jhoanna Jones thanked the staff for holding the meeting.
“Other neighborhoods have similar concerns. We should make this a regular activity,” Jones said.
Rogalsky showed a slide that outlined the city requirements for installing things like speed bumps, called “traffic relaxing measures”:
“This policy has generated no activity,” according to Rogalsky. He said noise often contributes to people believing that a car is speeding when it may not be.
The city conducted a study in February to see if Broadmoor Street qualified for speed bumps. The results showed that cars weren’t speeding fast enough.
Broadmoor Street is just south of Meadow Springs Country Club, between Leslie Road and Bellerive Drive.
Club 509 Pickleball has asked members not to park in front of residences
“We’ve told our members not to park in front of the residences, but to park in the lot provided or next to the tennis courts,” Rita Magnaghi, Club 509 Pickleball membership director, told the Observer in a telephone interview.
In an email to the Observer, Broadmoor resident Robert Benedetti said that the parking situation around the pickleball courts had improved.
Magnaghi said that more people were using the Claybell pickleball courts because the Kennewick courts were being remodeled and wouldn’t be completed until November.
Rogalsky knocked down as counterproductive residents’ recommendation that parking be restricted along Broadmoor Street. He said parking along the street slows down traffic, while an open street invites an increase in speed.
Instead, Rogalsky made two recommendations. He suggested lowering the speed limit around the park to 20 mph, which the city code allows for parks. He also recommended that the city council approve a variance to the traffic relaxer ordinance to allow one speed bump on Broadmoor Street near the pickleball courts.
Amundson added that the city would look at the timing of activities and programs at the park, as well as lighting and security measures.