Editorial: Large Vehicles Banned From Some Town Parking Spaces

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 21 August 2019 16:46

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Town of Carolina Beach recently painted lines at parking spaces along Lake Park Blvd and erected signs indicating that if your giant truck sticks out beyond the painted lines, you're in violation of the law.

Those spaces were not originally meant as spaces for vehicles that exceed the square footage of a regular parking space and extend out into traffic and block the line-of-sight of other vehicles trying to travel on Lake Park Blvd. (Much less try to see around such a giant vehicle when making a turn).

That's a problem for safe traffic flow. Not the truck owners fault or the Town's. These spaces were laid out long ago before people started buying much larger vehicles. People shouldn't park their large vehicles (Pick up trucks, extended work vans, box trucks, etc) in a space they obviously know is too small and expect everyone else to say, oh, that's fine, I can't see oncoming traffic so I'll just take a deep breath and hope for the best.

To be fair, the Town should take another look at the overall length of the spaces. Perhaps adding to the length, consistently, along one or both sides of Lake Park Blvd.

Cape Fear Blvd is another issue entirely of the Town's own making. When they widened sidewalks from the Boardwalk west to Sea Merchant's Grocery Store, they installed landscaping islands and in turn created a scenario where people have to steer into the turn lane to avoid the rear ends of large trucks, SUV's and utility vehicles.
Ryan O'Rourke, owner at The Dive Restaurant in the area where the spaces are now limited posted on social media, "Last night a Honda CR-V was parked in one of those spaces and the back end was over the line. Are we changing these to golf cart parking only or what?"

Keith Bloemendaal, local resident and member of the Town's Planning Commission, agreed with O'Rourke and explained, "I parked there [at The Dive]  today next to Ryan and observed, they have not done their research if they think that is the right length of the parking spot. I have seen a few times where ladders and other issues arise but a full size truck can park there and not hinder traffic. Been parking there in one for years."

In a town where parking is already in short supply during the busy summer season, this change will create a situation demanding increased resources in terms of enforcement. On a national level, sales of small vehicles are declining. People are now buying larger SUV's and trucks. The Town should monitor this change and be willing to make adjustments.

The Town has been issuing warnings and plans to begin enforcement soon. Perhaps they should use a first-time warning rule and allow time for people to adjust.

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