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Council approves pilot parking program

Parking will be limited to only one side of select street as Creston City Council unanimously aproved a parking pilot program during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

The proposed idea stems from a council meeting in April, when the first plans for the pilot parking program were brought forward.

The passed ordinance limits parking to the east sides of the 100 through 500 blocks of South Lincoln Street and Myrtle Street. The ordinance also restricts parking to the west side of the 200 block of South Peterson Street.

However, once the snow removal ordinance goes into effect, parking guidelines will follow the snow removal ordinance.

Council heard from residents at a meeting in May, where it listened to the public’s concerns.

The original plan was for parking on the east side of all three streets, but after hearing from residents the council decided to switch parking to the west side of South Peterson Street based on parking avilability.

A subcommittee consisting of councilmen Steve Wintermute, Terry Freeman and Ron Higgins. Creston Fire Chief Todd Jackson, Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer and two members of the Greater Regional Medical Center ambulance crew was formed in April to examine parking on narrow streets and the potential hazards parked cars can cause.

According to Jackson, the biggest issue he has faced is driving down narrow streets, trying to avoid parked cars, in a fire truck.

“I personally, years ago, drove our old ladder truck, which was narrower than our new one, down one of these streets at 3 in the morning for a house fire, and basically what you do is you look in your mirrors as you go past them and see if any of the vehicles are moving,” Jackson said in a previous interview. “You’re that tight.”

Another potential issue observed by Jackson is cars blocking firefighters access to a potential house fire. This would force firefighters to park farther away from the scene which, in turn, would cause delays.

“If you look at our streets that are narrow, which are older parts of towns, not only are the streets narrow, but the houses sit in close proximity to each other, too,” Jackson said. “A 10-minute delay on a house fire that’s well involved probably means there’s a good chance the next house is on fire. And, once the next house is on fire, there’s a chance the next house is on fire. It’s just a snowball effect.”

Part of the reason the pilot program was approved is to make it easier for Creston Police to enforce parking ordinance.

“It will be a parking violation,” said Paul Ver Meer, Creston Police Chief. “Parking violations in Creston are $25. (It) will probably be warnings to get people into the habit of doing it. After that, it will be citations.”

In other city council news:

• Council approved base wage increases for non-bargaining unit, non-probationary full-time employees and part-time permanent employees by a vote of 6-0. Ward 2 representative Rich Madison abstained from voting because his wife works at the library.

• A unanimous decision by the council approved Alliant Energy’s installation of four new street lights at the north and south intersections of Cottonwood Road and Lake View Drive.

• Council also voted unanimously to recommend The Franks Design Group for the Façade Project and to negotiate a Professional Services Contract.

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