Plain City officials are beginning a 90-day pilot program that will reduce parking in certain areas that create bottlenecks for emergency vehicles. Pictured above, curb areas of Cooper Lane and Dickens Lane highlighted in red will no longer permit street parking. Other streets affected include Carriage Drive, Lantern Lane and Murlay Drive. The changes will go into effect on Aug. 9. (Graphic submitted)
Plain City residents will soon see a change in available street parking.
A number of streets that currently have parking on both sides will be reduced to parking on only one side.
Beginning Aug. 9, parking on areas of Carriage Drive and Lantern Lane will decrease, as well as some curb areas of Cooper Lane, Dickens Lane and Murlay Drive.
The parking restrictions are part of a pilot program that will last for 90 days.
“As easily as those ‘no parking’ signs go into the ground, they can come out,” Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said Tuesday morning.
During Monday’s council meeting, Cahall said village staff worked with the Plain City Police Department and Pleasant Valley Fire District to identify streets where “we have witnessed some periodic bottlenecks.”
Cahall said allowing parking on both sides of the roads can make it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass and delay response times.
He explained Tuesday that the identified roads are not necessarily more narrow than a typical road.
Instead, he said they are areas “where we experience a high concentration of parking on both sides of the road.”
Cahall noted that some drivers are “better than others” at parking close to the curb line. Additionally, he said many local drivers have larger vehicles that extend into the driving lane, even when parked appropriately close to the curb.
Those factors result in less than two full lanes between the parked vehicles. In most cases, Cahall said there is only about “a lane and a third.”
Along with slowing down emergency vehicles, the narrow path can increase the risk for accidents.
During the July 7 council meeting, PCPD Chief Dale McKee said the department has received a number of complaints from individuals who advise they are forced to cross the double yellow when passing parked vehicles.
While eliminating parking spots could inconvenience residents, Council member Michael Terry said their safety is the top priority.
“If (the police and fire departments) want to run a pilot program, I don’t think we should get in the way of a safety issue,” he said.
Each council member agreed with Terry’s opinion.
Council President John Rucker asked Cahall if the alley next to the NAPA Auto Parts store could be temporarily converted to a one-way street as part of the pilot program.
“It’s just a matter of time before there’s an accident there,” Rucker said.
Cahall said he will speak with staff about adding it to the current list of proposed streets.
He noted that the changes to parking will be framed as an “educational program.”
If individuals park in new, no parking areas, McKee said officers “will probably just ask them to move” rather than issuing a ticket.
Cahall emphasized that the pilot period will conclude with a public hearing that will allow residents to provide their feedback.
The public hearing is tentatively set for 6 p.m. Nov. 10 at Village Council Chambers, within the municipal building at 800 Village Blvd.
Cahall said affected residents will be sent a letter prior to the new signage being installed on Aug. 9. They will be sent another letter before the public hearing to remind them of the opportunity to share their input.
Updates will also be shared through the village’s smartphone app and on the village’s website and social media pages.
In other business:
– Council recognized Sergeant Aaron Howard, whose promotion will take effect July 29.
McKee said Howard has served with the Plain City Police Department for eight years. He is the department’s field training officer and self-defense and TASER instructor.
The chief noted that many current PCPD officers have been trained by Howard. He said he is confident Howard will continue to set a strong example for them.
McKee also thanked Marysville Police Department Chief Floyd Golden, Union County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tom Morgan and Ohio State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Robert Curry for volunteering their time during the interview process.