Canal Winchester Public Works Director Matt Peoples and Madison Township Fire Chief Robert Bates asked Canal Winchester City Council last week to consider parking restrictions along John Drive and West Street so police and emergency vehicles have room to get through.
Councilwomen Leah Turner and Bobbie Mershon reminded them, however, that in previous discussions about on-street parking, residents had been very vocal about losing any parking options.
"We really need to inform residents so everyone is aware about this before we pass it," Mershon said.
"The last time they really raised hell over this," Turner said.
At the Aug. 19 council meeting, Bates and Peoples spoke in favor of allowing parking along only one side of John Drive and West Street in an effort to provide enough width for police cruisers and fire trucks to easily navigate the roads.
"We'd prefer parking restrictions on the fire hydrant side of the street," Bates said. "That would be consistent with the balance of the rest of the subdivision."
Peoples provided pictures of two city trucks parked against the curb on opposing sides of the streets, with a third truck attempting to drive between them. On John Drive, the picture showed only inches between the mirrors of the vehicles; on West Street, one set of mirrors had to be turned inward in order for the third truck to pass.
"From a fire department standpoint, they've got very large trucks and even for the sheriff's deputies, the parking on both sides of the street inhibits their access," Peoples said. "When we took these pictures just using the standard pickup trucks, you can see you have to go slowly through there, since there was less than a foot between the vehicles, and West Street is a whole lot worse."
According to Bates, if two average-size passenger vehicles are parked across from one another on West Street, it is physically impossible to get a fire engine, which measures 10-feet, 4-inches wide, down the street.
In response to the comments from Turner and Mershon, Peoples said his staff would make every effort to reach out to residents and be on-site to show what the issue is.
In other news about road changes, the city will provide information during the Labor Day Festival about the new roundabout planned at Gender and Lithopolis roads. Construction is expected to start in the spring.
"We're establishing a website as well at www.cwroundabout.com which will be available by Labor Day," Construction Manager Bill Sims said. "We'll start at the Labor Day Festival with a pamphlet and a booth specific to our roundabout and then, as we move to construction, we'll have info about how to get around as we're busy rebuilding the intersection."