Publishers Notebook: Police responding appropriately to parking problem
June 8, 2011
The Craig Police Department has recently been focusing on parking issues along First Street.
The issues stem from those of us who have children playing in Craig Parks and Recreation T-ball, coach pitch and fast pitch parking illegally along the shoulder of the street near Woodbury Sports Complex.
Each night games were played last week, police officers made their presence known on the scene with multiple cars and lights flashing.
Police Chief Walt Vanatta said the reason behind the police presence is to provide safety for children.
Additionally, that particular street is part of the route designated for vehicles carrying hazardous materials, and therefore needs clear shoulders.
I attend the ball games because my daughter is a participant.
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Each time police have engaged in this practice, parents around me have voiced dismay and distrust for police officers. They don't understand why the parking issue is receiving so much attention.
Due to the number of comments, I decided to visit with the police department and share with them what people have been saying.
When asked about the practice of police officers turning on their lights and acting as if they are writing tickets for cars that are parked illegally, police officials said that they believe it is the best way to get people to move their cars.
The simple truth of the matter is the manner they go about addressing parking issues is only posturing. Whether we agree or disagree with the law, the area is clearly marked with signs explaining the no parking zone, and it's for good reason.
When Vanatta asked me why parents park there, I gave him two reasons.
The first is that we parents have more on our minds when we are arriving at the game than whether we can park in an open space along the side of the road.
The second reason is that the only entrance into the two fields located on that side (south side of Jake's field) is quite a distance from other parking areas. This is understandably inconvenient when a parent may be carrying a glove, bat, chair, maybe snacks, and possibly other younger children and their belongings.
After our initial conversation, Vanatta called to inform me that he met with parks and rec personnel. Together they decided to close the existing entrance to that portion of the ball field and install entrances adjacent to the two fields in question.
Vanatta said this is likely to be done in the next couple of weeks.
The next time you see someone from the police department or parks and rec, please thank them for a reasonable solution that meets our needs as a community.