Parking problems persist

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 13, 2008

AHOSKIE – Downtown parking woes in Ahoskie have come full circle.

After addressing parking problems last year on North Mitchell Street and North Railroad Street, members of the Ahoskie Town Council listened to another complaint at their monthly meeting Tuesday morning.

Brenda Valesquez, owner of Mug Shotz Caf\u00E9 on Main Street, spoke of parking concerns during the council’s public input period.

Valesquez pointed out that the new businesses on Mitchell and Railroad streets along with the success of her caf\u00E9 had combined to create a parking nightmare.

“There are cars parked in front of my business, the same cars, all day long that are not my customers,” Valesquez said, referencing the block of Main Street between Mitchell and Railroad streets. “That impedes my customers from locating convenient parking.”

Valesquez added that she had instructed her employees to use the No Man’s Land parking lot on Railroad Street in order to free-up the prime spots on Main Street.

“There’s always plenty of parking spots just around the corner at No Man’s Land Park,” Valesquez said.

She asked council to consider restricting the Main Street parking spots between Mitchell and Railroad streets to a two-hour limit.

In response, Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond said Main Street parking has completed a full circle since he arrived in town in 2005.

“Back then we had two-hour parking limits on Main Street, but removed those signs and allowed for open parking,” Hammond said. “Main Street parking is now completely different. There are parking problems in that area of Main Street due to the recent influx of new businesses.”

Valesquez was advised that council could not make an immediate decision based upon comments made during a public input period. They did say they would take the complaint under consideration.

A drive-by survey conducted by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald at 10 a.m. yesterday (Wednesday) morning revealed no available parking spots on the north side of Main Street between Mitchell and Railroad. There were two open spots along the same block on the south side of Main Street.

With the exception of the marked handicapped spot, all of the available spots on North Mitchell Street were occupied. It was also noted that parking was at a premium along a section of North Street as well as the next block of North Mitchell Street towards the Hertford County DSS building.

There were four available spots on North Railroad Street (the two block area between Main Street and First Street). Meanwhile, over 25 spots were open in No Man’s Land Park, which has a 55-vehicle capacity.

After hearing complaints last year from Mitchell Street and Railroad Street business owners, council approved two, two-hour parking spots and one handicapped spot on both streets.