Thursday, Sept. 30

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Downtown parking issues rise
again and again    
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[SEPT. 30, 2004]  It is the proverbial downtown complaint heard anywhere across the country: "There's nowhere to park." Do you suppose they complained about where to post a horse before there were cars and parking spaces?

The owner of Lincoln Printers, Bob Broviak, came before the council to request a parking change. Broviak said his customers complain that they can't find parking. He said he has about four customers a week come in and ask, "Well, where do you park around here?"

Numerous attempts have been made to remedy the situation, including Bennett Funeral Home offering some back parking spaces and police ticketing violators, and that has helped. But, when the weather turns bad it will become a problem again, Broviak said.

It was generally expressed by all that it is believed to be store owners and employees who most often tie up the parking spaces regularly all over the downtown area.

Broviak said there are eight parking places across from Apollo Mart and his business that are for two-hour parking. He suggested that four of those be made into 15-minute parking places.

We'd really appreciate it, he said.

City attorney Bill Bates said that the city would need to change the ordinance to include 15-minute parking. He recommended seeking other options first.

Aldermen Verl Prather and Busby suggested replacing fading, aged signs and increasing police enforcement, which Mayor Beth Davis backed up. There will be an increase in watching all the downtown parking for a period time, and then the situation will be reviewed.

 

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Parking for disabled difficult to enforce

Keeping reliable parking available for disabled people keeps nagging at City Hall. Mayor Beth Davis said that there was recently another negative media report on the city's efforts to enforce handicapped parking.

State regulations require qualified individuals who do not have handicapped license plates on the vehicle they are driving to properly hang an identifying placard where it can be seen when parking in a handicapped parking space.

"We try to help the people with disabilities," Mayor Davis said. That's why we have the monitors and the police checking handicapped parking spaces. If people don't put up their placard or have their vehicle that has the handicapped license plates, they will get a ticket. We're trying to uphold the law, she said, so that others are not parking in their spots.

The mayor said she gets a lot of calls wanting her to do something about it. "They get one of these parking tickets, and they come to me and want me to do something about it," she said. "They wouldn't come to me if they received a speeding ticket," she said. "It's a privilege, not a right; it's a privilege."

We're trying to help the disabled, she said.

[Jan Youngquist]

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