BERLIN – Officials agreed to limit parking to the east side of Jefferson Street in an effort to improve accessibility.
On Monday, the Berlin Town Council voted to limit parking to the east side of Jefferson Street following a recommendation from Police Chief Arnold Downing. On the west side of the street, “no parking” signs will be installed.
“Over the last 18 months, we’ve actually had several complaints in reference to Jefferson Street in regards to the parking itself and the inability for vehicles to freely flow down the street,” Downing said.
Downing told the council that in investigating the situation, police determined that vehicles have been parking on both sides of Jefferson Street despite the fact that it’s less than 21 feet wide. According to town standards, roads should be at least 24 feet wide if they’re to feature parking on one side.
“In reviewing that, we thought that it really shouldn’t be people parking on both sides of the street, bottlenecking in that area,” he said. “We feel if we eliminate parking on the west side of the street … we’ll alleviate the issues.”
Mayor Gee Williams pointed out that parking was already prohibited on one section of the street.
“All you’re doing is extending that no parking restriction the rest of the way,” he said.
Downing agreed and said he’d spoken to the residents of Jefferson Street and advised them of the coming restrictions. He added that they were able to park on their properties or on the east side of the street. He also said that for the first month police would not issue warnings rather than tickets.
Williams said parking changes were essentially coming at the request of local residents.
“This came from basically complaints, suggestions, recommendations from citizens in the town and our concern for the ability for police, fire and EMS vehicles to get through there,” Williams said.
Washington Street resident Sara Hambury thanked officials for moving ahead with the parking restrictions. She added, however, that she’d rather see the curb painted red to prevent parking than signage.
“I’d buy the red paint if we’re allowed to put it down,” she said. “People, they’re just not using common sense.”
Williams said officials would try the signs first and see if they were sufficient.
“It’s a judgment call,” he said. “Is it overkill to put a red stripe on such a traditional charming street?”
Downing said signs were more effective than curbs painted red. He added that painted curbs would need to be repainted regularly.
Williams said the issue could be revisited if the signs weren’t effective.
“Generally speaking most people reluctantly accept the no parking once they start getting tickets,” he said.