03/02/04 — SUVs may be limited in Mt. Olive parking

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SUVs may be limited in Mt. Olive parking

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 2, 2004 1:59 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Fire officials say sport utility vehicles parked by the railroad tracks on Center Street are slowing down fire trucks.

The town manager will ask downtown merchants their opinions about signs directing SUV drivers to park on the parallel-parking side of the street and leave the spaces at the railroad tracks open for smaller cars.

Another option would be to increase the angle of the spaces at the tracks or to take out parts of the sidewalk on the other side of the street and give that side angle parking.

Town Manager Ray McDonald told the town board Monday night that the fire trucks had to slow down recently on the way to a fire and ease past the SUVs parked on West Center Street between John and James streets.

"The fire department asked us to give them another route, but the fastest way for them to get to a fire is down Center Street," he said. "If it's your house, you're going to be upset if they're late."

Mayor Ruff Huggins said Clinton had the same problem and increased the angle of the parking spaces. He said he doesn't see the sense of telling people to park in a certain place if they have a certain kind of vehicle.

McDonald said he looked into increasing the angle of the parking spaces at the tracks side.

It would add 15 inches to the street, he said, but the town would lose five parking spaces.

The town board doesn't want to lose parking spaces and has directed McDonald to find a way to remedy the situation without having to give up any.

The vote was 3 to 1 to have McDonald talk to the merchants about options.

Town Commissioner Jimmy Kornegay, who is the fire commissioner, voted against the action.

He said this morning that he wanted time to talk to the firefighters about what they wanted.