NEWTOWN SQUARE–The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors agreed at Monday night's meeting to temporarily stop issuing out tickets in regards to those in violation of the overnight parking ordinance.
The agreement was communicated to Lt. Mike Savitski, of the Newtown Township Police Department, who was informed to notify the officers of the temporary agreement.
The decision to temporarily halt the issuance of parking tickets to overnight parking violators comes on the heels after the July meeting when residents vocally spoke about their concerns and stress the enforcement of the overnight parking ordinance has caused them.
It was announced at a supervisors meeting in June that police will start to enforce the township's overnight parking ordinance. The ordinance currently states no overnight parking is allowed from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. on residential streets in the township.
One of the main reasons the enforcement for overnight parking has increased is due to the lack of space for emergency vehicles to pass through the narrow streets in the township, Newtown Square Fire Co. Chief Doug Simpson previously mentioned.
Newtown Township Engineer Eileen Nelson stated that she has taken the measurements provided by the police department per the narrowest segment of street in each location as well as reviewing the PennDOT standards for making her recommendations. The streets that were mainly reviewed were in the Larchmont, Valley View Acres and Larchmont Square neighborhoods, as they appeared to have the most narrow streets in the township.
Nelson noted, "The ordinance restricts parking at any time on Valley View Lane from West Chester Pike to Mulberry Lane, on Mulberry from Pickwick to the cul-de-sac, Barren Road for the first 250 feet from West Chester Pike and a restriction from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Pickwick."
According to Nelson, her study showed that 3rd and 4th avenues from Malley to Morton streets and between Morton St. between 3rd and 4th avenues as the only location–of the areas reviewed–where parking on one side of the street could be allowed with two-way traffic. In addition, Valley View Lane–currently a one-way street–could allow parking on one side of the street and still meet the PennDOT standard.
"The majority of the remainder of the segements would only be able to provide for parking on one side of the street if they were to be prohibited to one-way traffic," said Nelson. "2nd Avenue and Malley from 2nd to 4th [avenues] are substandard in width and could not support parking at all."
Nelson also referenced the ordinance code which states that parking is also prohibited on a sidewalk and alongside any street of highway excavation or obstruction or opposite the same, unless a clear and unobstructed with of not less than 20 feet upon the main traveled portion of the street of highway if left free of other vehicles thereon.
According to Nelson, the history of the overnight parking ordinance dates back to 1974 and amendments have been made over time, as recently as 2004 which had added additional restrictions.
"Now we're not just talking about the issues of the tickets but we're getting to the heart of the issue, which is the width of the streets," said Supervisors Chairman Joseph Catania. "...Everyone knows it but we're no longer a one- or two-car family."
Catania suggested that the township look at the parking restrictions throughout the township "comprehensively" and not "piece meal."
"Because there are too many streets involved," said Catania. "If we can reasonably get it done in the next few months–no more than three–I think..it's okay for a moratorium on tickets for now."
Catania said that Nelson could start with the streets located on the reported matrix, also known as the most problematic in regards to overnight parking, get feedback from the residents on those streets and setting up at least two meetings with the residents about potential parking solutions.
Township Manager Mike Trio shared that the study also included looking at additional signage, residents potentially having parking stickers, and alternating parking on both sides of the streets.
According to Nelson, there are currently 44 total restriction in the township ordinance. Nelson stated her memo to the township on her study was trying to address alleviating some of those that can be and still meet PennDOT's standards.
Approximately 90 days was given for Nelson to report back on her findings and potential parking solutions for a handful of the township's most narrow streets.
View the PDF attached to this article for a list of streets the township is currently looking at and the speculations for some of the most narrow streets in town.