CLINTON — It was Wednesday shortly after 2 p.m. when Police Chief Craig Johnson arrived on Railroad Street to investigate several complaints about a parking violation.

He wrote out a warning note and placed it on the homemade utility trailer, asking the owner to move it.

“It was partially on the sidewalk and appeared to have been there for a couple days,” Johnson said. “The blatant violation was parking on the sidewalk; that’s for pedestrians.”

The owner would have faced two $15 fines for the violations, but Johnson has been doling out warning notes — for now — so that people can get accustomed to a recently revised set of municipal rules.

Town Manager Aaron Chrostowsky said the Board of Selectmen recently amended the town’s 2004 traffic control and parking ordinance after receiving numerous complaints from business owners and residents.

Among the highlights of the ordinance regulations are: no stopping or parking within 10 feet of intersections and within 7 feet of any fire hydrant; no parking on sidewalks, in front of driveways or obstructing traffic; vehicles may not be left in a designated parking space for more than three full days; and no parking with the vehicle facing oncoming traffic.

The town also has signs up in certain areas of town. For instance, vehicles can’t park on the east side of Railroad Street in front of the post office for longer than 20 minutes during its business hours.

Parking near the post office has been a noticeable problem to Cherri Dickey-Whitish, director of the Brown Memorial Library on Railroad Street.

“People park in front going the wrong way, and I could see where that would be dangerous,” Dickey-Whitish said. “We don’t have a parking area at the library, but nobody’s had any problems here; nobody’s bothered us about it.”

Missy Grow, owner of Clinton Variety & Pizza on Main Street, said she hasn’t noticed any parking problems near her business and doesn’t think the new rules will have much of an impact.

“We have a pretty big parking lot; nobody really parks on the side of the road,” Grow said. “But a lot of businesses in town don’t really have much parking.”

Johnson said he and his officers have handed out about 25 warnings to motorists since the ordinance rules were revised in recent months.

“Right now, it’s an educational process,” Johnson said. “But if we wind up with repeat offenders, obviously we’re going to step up action. We’re just trying to work with everybody and get a happy medium. We haven’t had to hand out tickets because we’re educating the public.”

Johnson said he has received a few phone calls from people who had heard the police were ticketing drivers and were upset, but Johnson explained that only warnings were being used.

Most violations carry a possible $15 fine, though parking near an intersection or a fire hydrant carry $30 fines each. Improperly parking in a handicap space carries a $200 fine.

The most common violations Johnson has noticed are vehicles parked in spaces for several days and motorists parking along the street facing oncoming traffic.

“That’s a safety issue, because you’re pulling across an oncoming lane to park, then you’ll pull out again across an oncoming lane into an ongoing lane and if you have a blind spot you might have a crash,” Johnson said.

Most of the rules are a good idea, Dickey-Whitish said.

She added, “Unfortunately, you can’t always dictate common sense.”


Scott Monroe — 861-9239

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