MOUNT CARMEL — Hammond Estates resident Leonard Dorton told Mount Carmel leaders Thursday his street looked like a ski slalom after last month’s blizzard as the city’s snowplow attempted to weave around cars parked on both sides of the residential roadway.
City leaders also heard concerns during Thursday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting that parking on both sides of residential streets makes it difficult for fire trucks to get through in an emergency, and public works crews have difficulty with leaf pickup due to street parking.
Hammond Estates resident Alan Cloyd said he’s also concerned about the safety of children who ride their bikes on the street and might ride out between parked cars — unseen by oncoming traffic.
Following a lengthy discussion on Thursday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed Thursday to hold a public hearing next month seeking public input on a proposal to ban parking on all residential streets in the city.
Street parking ban isn’t enforced
Some subdivisions, including Hammond Estates and Brookfield Place, have a single sign posted at their entrance stating "No Parking Either Side Street."
But Mount Carmel doesn't have an ordinance banning parking on the street.
Mount Carmel Police Chief Grady White noted that in order to enforce no parking regulations the city would have to post "No Parking" signs on all affected streets at specific intervals.
City Manager Mike Housewright noted that the no parking signs have been posted at the subdivision entrances for about two years, but they haven't been enforced. As a result, residents have become accustomed to parking on the street.
Housewright said if the board wants to begin enforcing no parking on residential streets, he'd prefer to do some sort of public notification first and issue warnings for about a month before giving out tickets.
A parking ban is proposed
Alderman Steven McLain made a motion to ban parking on Mount Carmel’s residential streets, albeit with two exceptions.
One exception would be for family gatherings, and residents would be required to contact the city ahead of time to get a permit.
The other exception would be during snow and icy conditions, because some driveways are on an incline and residents have no choice but to park on the street. On those occasions, however, McLain said the city should allow parking on only one side of the street.
It’s more complicated than expected
White noted that if the city is going to impose such specific parking regulations, each of those stipulations would have to be listed on the “No Parking” street signs, and multiple signs would have to be posted at a certain interval on every street.
There wasn’t enough information available Thursday to determine how many signs would be needed or how much that would cost the city. Board members agreed, however, that it would likely be very expensive.
“If it’s safety, we’re going to have to do it,” Cloyd said. “Somebody is going to get hurt. It’s getting worse.”
Housewright suggested that the parking permit proposal for family gatherings might present problems as well. He said dealing with parking permit requests, as well as enforcement, would create complications for staff and police.
A public hearing is scheduled
Mayor Chris Jones said the board will have to decide if it wants to post “No Parking” signs on every street, but first he wants to hear from the public.
McLain agreed to withdraw his street parking ban motion pending a public hearing that will take place prior to the Feb. 28 BMA meeting.
In the meantime, Building Inspector Vince Pishner will work with the police department to determine which streets need parking enforcement.