Complaints from neighboring businesses about parking during special events on McCormick Street has spurred the town to designate areas along the street and another as “No Parking Zones.”
The town council approved an ordinance designating areas on McCormick and Drexmere Streets between U.S. Highway 70 and Mechanical Boulevard, as the zones where people will no longer be able to park.
The ordinance, which will clarify the designated parking areas, was approved through the town council’s consent agenda and therefore was not discussed. Items in the consent agenda are made by one motion and don’t typically invoke discussion unless a council member requests it.
Locked & Loaded Grill held a couple of events in April and May, which sparked the complaints from neighboring businesses such as Garner Wayside Furniture.
Hundreds of motorcycles and a few cars lined both sides of the streets and slowed the flow of traffic, according to emails from Gra Singleton to top town officials. Some of the motorcycles parked at nearby businesses like the gas station, furniture store and IHOP.
“Motorcycles were parked on both sides of McCormick Street, and on the east side, there were orange traffic cones and yellow tape blocking off the street so the motorcycles could park there,” Singleton said in an email in April. “The main concern to me was as I got on Mechanical Boulevard and traveled back towards Highway 70 on McCormick, the normal 3-4 lane road was so narrow that only one car at a time could travel because of the numerous motorcycles parked on a public street both the east and west side.”
He said it was tight and potentially dangerous as only one vehicle could safely pass on McCormick Street.
In May, Locked & Loaded restaurant owner Carlos Lopez applied for a temporary use permit requesting the town close parts of McCormick Street for a fundraiser they would host. The permit would allow motorcycles to park on both sides of that street.
Police Chief Brandon Zuidema said he was concerned with the precedent it would set.
“Both in terms of street closure and essentially allowing businesses to bypass the parking requirements normally in place from the Town,” he said in a May 12 email to department heads. “To my knowledge, we have not previously closed off a non-neighborhood street before.”
Detours and temporary “No Parking” zones were put in place, and police directed traffic. The event caused no problems.
Zuidema suggested getting permanent “No Parking Signs” for those streets.
In an interview, Zuidema said those streets were not designed for parking.
“They were marked lanes for traffic,” he said. “All it takes is for a couple of folks to park there and more people will think that is a space to park.”
He said the staff was concerned with access and making sure emergency vehicles, specifically fire trucks would have access to the property.
The area which will be marked “No Parking” is all of Drexmere Street, and McCormick Street from U.S. 70 to Mechanical Boulevard.
“We have a good relationship with Locked and Loaded and try to be supportive of their efforts and have a happy medium,” Zuidema said.