Ahoskie Council presented with speeding, parking problems

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2007

AHOSKIE – Traffic, it’s everywhere in Ahoskie. Some of it moves faster than the posted speed limit while other vehicles sit motionless, occupying parking spaces for extended periods of time.

Those two issues came before the Ahoskie Town Council during their monthly meeting here Tuesday. While no action was taken due to the information being presented during the public input period, council members did briefly discuss the problems and promised to further study both issues.

The first stemmed from an earlier complaint from a resident living in the Pembroke Ave./Memorial Drive area. She was concerned over the safety of neighborhood children in an area where motor vehicles travel faster than the posted (25 mph) limit.

On Tuesday, Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh reported the findings of a traffic survey to the town council. Fitzhugh said the survey was conducted on April 6, 8, 11, 16, 17 and 20 for approximately one hour, at various times, each day.

Ahoskie Police Traffic Officer Daniel Flores performed the survey, parking his marked vehicle on Pembroke Ave., near Stokes Street, facing Memorial Drive.

During the six-day survey, Officer Flores surveyed a total of 249 vehicles. Using in-car radar, he clocked 123 (49 percent) of the vehicles traveling at or under the posted 25 mph limit. His report showed 84 vehicles (34 percent) traveled between 26-30 mph; 33 vehicles (13 percent) were clocked at 31-35 mph and 10 (4 percent) were traveling above 35 mph.

Officer Flores conducted 10 vehicle stops and issued six citations (three for speeding, two for stop sign violations and one for driving while license were revoked). Additionally, he warned four drivers of their violations (three for speeding and one for a stop sign violation).

“Based on Officer Flores’ data, I would say there is indeed a problem with speeding and stop sign violations in this area of town,” Fitzhugh said. “The numbers show that 51 percent of the vehicles surveyed were indeed speeding.”

Fitzhugh said that Officer Flores spoke with two residents in the survey area, asking them for suggestions. He said both expressed concern over the safety of the children living in that neighborhood. They suggested speed bumps or children at play signs.

Town Councilman Ronald Gatling inquired of Fitzhugh’s plans to alleviate the problem. The Police Chief responded by saying he had advised the residents they need to address their requests for speed bumps or signage to the council. In the meantime, Fitzhugh promised that his department will continue to monitor traffic in this neighborhood in an effort to reduce speeding.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Ahoskie business owner Tommy Hurdle addressed council members about parking problems on Railroad Street where his hair salon (Tommy & Company) is located.

Hurdle, backed by business neighbors Just Jenn and A Little Something, said vehicles were using the marked spaces along the west side of Railroad Street for all-day parking. He said that forces his customers as well as those shopping with his business allies to find other areas to park.

“Some of my customers are elderly and it would be convenient for them to park right in front of my business or at least closer to my front door,” Hurdle said.

Hurdle added that he was surprised to learn that the vehicles occupying the parking spaces all day were employees of other North Railroad Street businesses.

“There is a large, town-owned parking lot directly across the street from all the businesses on our block of Railroad (Street),” Hurdle noted. “My employees use that lot in order to free-up the parking spaces in front of my business for our customers.”

Hurdle said he had spoken with the other business owners whose employees were occupying the prime parking spots, but the problem still persists.

“This is negatively affecting our businesses,” Hurdle said.

Hurdle suggested the town needs to look at establishing and enforcing a two-hour parking zone on that block of Railroad Street. Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn promised to study the issue further.