Published 6:25 pm Friday, July 16, 2021
AHOSKIE – There are changes coming to vehicle parking along a town-owned street here.
At their scheduled meeting on July 13, members of the Ahoskie Town Council were advised by Police Chief Jimmy Asbell of parking problems on one block of Pine Street. He told the Council that based on his observations, it was recommended to amend Section 38-126 of the town’s ordinance to designate the west side of Pine Street – the block between First Street and Hayes Street – as a no parking area.
“I’ve met with a citizen living on that street about his concerns on parking and I went out there and looked at it,” stated Asbell. “There is a parking problem on that whole block.”
Asbell added that the citizen’s main complaint was that parked vehicles blocked his driveway.
“I went back there with Steve [Lassiter, Ahoskie’s Public Works Director] and he measured off how many parking spaces we can put on that street,” the Police Chief added. “The paperwork I presented to you will show no parking on the west side of Pine Street and approximately six parking spaces on the east side of that street.”
Asbell said the measurements on the east side took into account the required 15 feet of no parking space where Pine Street intersects with First Street on one end and Hayes Street on the other end. It also prohibits parking within five feet of a driveway.
“There are a few homes on the side of the street that will become a no parking area, but no one has lived in those homes in quite a while,” Asbell noted.
Asbell added the parking problem is compounded by the fact that Pine is a very narrow street. He said there have been as many as 30-to-35 vehicles parked at times on both sides of that particular block.
“Emergency vehicles would have trouble getting up and down that street; I know that a fire truck would not be able to get up and down that street in the current situation there with the parking,” Asbell stressed.
With Council’s approval, Asbell said the plan is to have Public Works come in and paint the six parking spaces available on the east side of the street. Meanwhile, no parking signs will be erected on the west side as well as within 15 feet of both intersections.
“The marked spaces and signage will allow us to enforce any parking violations there,” Asbell stated. “If approved, I would suggest putting something in the newspaper about the change and give those living or visiting the homes there a grace period to abide by those changes. After that we would begin enforcing the no parking ordinance there.”
“Is the [parking] problem among people living there or by others,” Councilman Roy Sharpe Sr. inquired.
“Most of it is by people visiting a particular residence on that street,” Asbell responded.
Councilman Charles Reynolds motioned to approve the proposed measure.
There was discussion about an effective date of the change. Council members asked if the new markings/signage on Pine Street could be in place within the next two weeks.
“We need to let the citizens there know in advance of the change,” said Councilwoman Jamie Burns.
“If you want to shoot for completion by the second week of August then that should give the citizens ample time to make adjustments before my officers begin the enforcement actions,” Asbell suggested.
Council members and Asbell agreed on an Aug. 10 completion date. That date was added to the motion made by Reynolds and it was approved without objection.
In a related matter, Reynolds asked Asbell if there are any other parking issues in town that needed to be addressed. Asbell said there were and Reynolds urged the Police Chief to bring those issues before Council at a future meeting.