Ahoskie Council amends parking ordinance

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, April 13, 2011

AHOSKIE – Town officials here continue to make revisions to the rules and regulations governing traffic flow and parking.

At their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, members of the Ahoskie Town Council were in full support of a measure that prohibits vehicles from “wrong way” parking (with the driver’s side door adjacent to the curb).

Following an advertised public hearing on Town Ordinance 38-136, council members briefly discussed the issue prior to approving the revisions.

Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond explained that the current wording of Section 38-136 prohibits left side to the curb parking only in the town’s business district.

“Basically, this is a form of parking where a vehicle, heading south, pulls to the curb side on the north side of the street,” Hammond explained. “The danger of parking this way comes by way of the driver having to cut across a lane of traffic to park at the curb and then repeat that unsafe movement upon getting back in their vehicle and returning to the traffic flow.”

Hammond went on to say that the Ahoskie Police Department has noted “wrong way” parking in other sections of town, not just along the Main Street (and adjacent streets) business district.

“It is suggested that we make this a town-wide change,” Hammond stated.

The proposed change would make Section 38-136 read as follows:

“Left side to curb not permitted in the Town of Ahoskie; exception – No vehicle shall stop with its left side to the curb in the Town of Ahoskie except upon streets or portions thereof designated for one-way traffic.”

In another proposed change, Hammond informed Council members that he had met with the administrator and engineering department at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in reference to a policy approved at the Council’s March meeting that eliminated parking on the south side of Sunset Street between Academy Street and Curtis Street (adjacent to the hospital’s main parking lot). That new policy totally reconfigured parking patterns on numerous streets at or near the hospital in an effort to improve traffic flow.

“They (hospital officials) are concerned over the lack of parking, the removal of all parking places on Sunset between Academy and Curtis,” Hammond said. “When we made that portion of Sunset a no parking zone we took away 22 parking spots.”

However, upon looking at the original study performed on town wide parking and traffic flow issues, Hammond noted a suggestion to only remove four parking spots on Sunset Street – the three closest to the Academy Street intersection and one at the Curtis Street intersection.

“The vehicles parking all the way up to these intersections were creating a hazard,” Hammond said. “After my discussion with the hospital officials, they ask if I would come back and recommend to the Council that you amend the policy on that one street (Sunset) to allow for parking there, with the exception of the three spots near DrugCo, at the Academy Street intersection, and one spot at the Curtis Street intersection. That will leave them with 18 spots in between.”

“We, of course, want to work with the hospital, but if we begin to see traffic issues there, if we begin to see a growing number of accidents there, we will need to go back and re-visit this,” Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn said.

In another parking related matter, Councilman Malcolm Copeland suggested that instead of restricting parking on Memorial Drive between Pembroke Avenue and Lakeview Drive, to open it to parking only on the north side of Memorial.

Upon a motion from Councilman O.S. “Buck” Suiter Jr. and a second from Copeland, all three changes were approved.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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