By Dedra Cordle
With limited or prohibited space, parking has become an issue in the village of Urbancrest.
Discussion regarding the situation began in August when village council member Shawn Moore said she had heard from a resident who would like to see the ban on parking along the south side of Augustus Drive lifted.
According to Moore, the resident said the restricted access to the south side of Augustus Drive has been causing a safety issue for those who have to walk across the street to reach their parked vehicle along the north side. The resident said when passing vehicles come around the curve – which is considered to be a “blind spot” in the village – it makes it hard for the motorist to see the parked vehicle or the person trying to make their way across the road to reach their vehicle.
The village council debated whether to lift the ban during the August meeting, but settled on doing more research into why the ban was established in the first place.
At the Oct. 1 meeting, the topic came up again when councilman Kenneth Skeaton said that upon looking into the village resolutions and ordinances, parking along the southern portions of Augustus should not have been banned.
Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. said he had read in another ordinance (in the Ohio Revised Code) that parking is banned along the south side so as not to hinder emergency vehicle access.
Barnes also added that parking was banned as a part of a block watch agreement with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in order to reduce drug traffic.
Councilwoman Deborah Larkins-Jackson said the larger issue is that the parking laws are inconsistent throughout the village and that issue needs to be addressed. Council members said they would take this topic back to the health and safety committee to do more research.
Another parking issue in the village is the tentative plan to expand the parking lot at the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA.
The parcel of land, which was purchased by the Urbancrest Community Investment Corporation, is adjacent to several homes and those residents have expressed concern about the expansion plans.
Alicia Wiggins came to a recent meeting to express her hesitance on this matter to the council.
Wiggins said she was worried that an expansion of the parking lot would bring additional noise and increase the amount of vehicle and foot traffic that travels through the alley near her home to reach the YMCA.
Council said the expansion would not likely take place this year, providing ample time for all parties involved to reach an agreement on what needs to be put in place (such as parking lights and buffers) in order to fulfill the need for privacy and the need for additional parking space.