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Plan will ease Kiwanis Street congestion

AHOSKIE – A plan has been put into place that will hopefully alleviate the traffic concerns here on Kiwanis Street.

At its recent meeting, the Ahoskie Town Council, based on a suggestion from Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh and Town Manager Tony Hammond, agreed to establish a “No Parking” zone on the east side of South Kiwanis Street between East Myers Street and East Everett Street.

That “No Parking” area will become effective as soon as the signs are put into place. Motorists ignoring the “No Parking” zone will be issued warnings for the first 30 days. After that, a citation, accompanied by a fine, will be given to those parking on the east side of South Kiwanis Street.

The traffic issue on Kiwanis Street was first brought to the attention of the Ahoskie Town Council members at their October meeting. There, Rev. Phillip Tipton of Ahoskie Free Will Baptist Church, speaking during the public input portion of the meeting, pointed out that due to the growth of the church-based school (Ahoskie Christian School), traffic congestion was becoming problematic on Kiwanis Street.

“We’ve have some close encounters between our schoolchildren and vehicles,” Rev. Tipton said. “We do not want anyone to get hurt.”

The pastor added that the brunt of the congestion was during the weekday morning drop-off (7-8:30 a.m.) and afternoon pick-up (2:30-4 p.m.) hours. The church also operates a day care center at the same location.

Adding to the safety concerns is the recent opening of the church’s Family Life Center across the street. That facility is also used by students.

The issue was on the council’s November meeting agenda. Council members heard from Chief Fitzhugh and Hammond, who said they had discussed the traffic congestion problem with Rev. Tipton and residents of the neighborhood near the church/school.

“There was some discussion about making that block of Kiwanis a one-way street during certain hours of the week, but we feel that would lead to mass confusion for residents and transients using that street and an enforcement nightmare for our police department,” Hammond said. “What we propose is to remove all parking spots on the east side of the street and add a marked crosswalk with all the necessary signage.”

“Removing the parking spots on the east side of Kiwanis Street will hopefully relieve the congestion,” Fitzhugh noted. “The parking spots on the west side of the street (the side closest to the church/school) will remain.”

Fitzhugh added that he canvassed the homes in the neighborhood to see if those residents had any issues with the new parking plan and encountered no opposition.

Council members approved the new “No Parking” zone, one which will be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.