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Committee puts parking request to rest

Superior's calendar parking hours will remain the same, but flashing lights may soon aid pedestrians crossing Hammond Avenue near Kwik Trip.

The Public Works Committee voted Wednesday to leave the four-hour window for vehicles to move across the street every Sunday alone.

The panel also approved moving an existing RRFB — rectangular rapid flashing beacon — to the intersection of Hammond Avenue and North Seventh Street.

Councilor Ruth Ludwig requested a second-look at the calendar parking hours after hearing concerns from constituents that it's too short.

Committee members debated extending, shortening and moving the current 4-8 p.m. time period, as well as changing the hours seasonally.

Superior Traffic Lt. Thor Trone provided information on tickets handed out by officers on Sundays over the last three months. Out of the 133 tickets written on Sundays since Aug. 6, 122 were written Oct. 1 during a planned parking enforcement action. Most weeks had none.

"Patrol doesn't usually make this an issue unless there's a problem or complaint," Trone said. "We don't make it a priority. We're not heartless."

However, he said, the department is undergoing a lot of turnover now.

"We are getting younger officers that are much more active," Trone said. "There could be increased enforcement."

The crossover window is short for safety. If vehicles are parked on both sides of a narrow street, fire trucks and ambulances may not be able to get through.

"A fire truck is not an easy thing to turn around," Trone said.

Committee members hoped the media attention sparked by Ludwig's request will remind residents of the 4-8 p.m. parking crossover window.

"To be honest with you, I didn't know we had hours until two years ago," said Councilor Keith Kern.

Councilor Esther Dalbec's request for flashing lights at the crosswalk of Hammond Avenue and North Seventh Street was approved and is the City Council's Tuesday agenda.

Public Works Director Todd Janigo said efforts to increase pedestrian safety at the intersection — a heavier-bar crosswalk, flagged signs and a stanchion — have not helped.

The stanchion, Dalbec said, "Looks like someone took and used it for target practice."

Trone said it gets hit by vehicles daily.

Janigo was concerned that adding flashing lights would give pedestrians a false sense of security.

"Any time a pedestrian is in the crosswalk you're supposed to stop," Trone said. "With or without lights."

The city does have a fast track to get lights up on the corner — moving existing, underused lights from the crosswalk at Banks Avenue and North 12th Street. A center light wouldn't be installed until spring, Janigo said.

The city has 15 RRFBs.

Councilor Jenny Van Sickle said it was a step in the right direction and suggested adding rumble strips to help slow traffic in the area.

The City Council could also consider making the southbound turn lane into a parking lane, Janigo said, since many motorists treat it as a throughway.