By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Oct. 17, 2019) Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing advised the Town Council Tuesday night to impose parking restrictions on two narrow streets after firefighting apparatus had to negotiate parked cars to respond to a garage fire earlier this summer.
Downing endorsed having no parking on Grace Street and limited parking on Washington Street’s south side.
The garage fire on Grace Street isn’t the first time town officials expressed issues with parking.
“We’ve actually had these concerns even before the fire,” Downing said.
Downing said his department consulted several groups, including residents, public works, fire officials, and town staff when assessing parking on Grace and Washington streets.
Downing also referenced problems on Jefferson Street when parking was restricted to one side of the street on July 12, 2017.
Washington Street is 21 feet wide, according to Downing, but when cars are parked on both sides, the width shrinks to 7 feet.
Downing said that “a good reference point is 12 feet,” according to the State Highway Administration.
“What we have is a great deficit on that street,” Downing said.
First responders experienced difficulty maneuvering around parked cars to get to property owner Sara Hambury’s home on Grace Street on July 30.
“The fire department, they will make it where they need to be even if there’s going to be some damage caused to get there,” Downing said.
Councilman Zack Tyndall moved to approve Downing’s recommendations. The vote was unanimous.
Councilmen Thom Gulyas and Troy Purnell were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.