84 streets gain new parking restrictions
The police chief said problems at the county jail contributed to a crime increase in the township.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Trustees have restricted parking to one side of all or parts of 84 township streets.
The widths of those streets, which are scattered throughout the township, measured 22 feet or less.
Trustees Elaine Mancini and Thomas Costello approved the restriction that Trustee Kathy Miller opposed. Miller has opposed the restrictions since the process began a few months ago, saying she doesn't believe restrictions should be implemented unless sought by residents.
Parking on those 84 streets will be prohibited on the side of the street with fire hydrants. For streets that don't have hydrants, the restriction was based on the fire department's recommendation.
The restriction won't be effective for 30 days and can't be enforced until signs are posted.
The issue came to light in fall 2003, when firetrucks responding to a medical call weren't able to reach houses on two streets because of cars parked on both sides.
"We need 10 feet on every street for our safety forces," Mancini said.
The township conducted hearings on 19 streets to determine whether to implement a full or one-side parking ban. It later expanded the list to about 160 streets that measured 22 feet or narrower.
After a meeting last month at which residents objected to the measurements, the township whittled the list to 84 streets. The new list was of streets measuring 22 feet or less from curb to curb or asphalt edge to asphalt edge. The longer list initially proposed used official measurements determined for paving.
Some residents who attended a meeting Wednesday still opposed restrictions.
Parking isn't a problem on Oak Knoll Drive, one of the 84 streets, said Terry O'Halloran, one of its residents.
"Our contention is it's not an issue on Oak Knoll," he said. "The only time you see cars parking on the street is during the holidays or for graduation parties."
Residents of Tanglewood Drive and Stratford Road echoed that contention for their streets.
Trustees also approved petitions presented by residents of Sciota Avenue and Beechwood Drive to reinstate parking on one side of the street.
Trustees had instituted a ban last month on both sides of the street on those two and a handful of other streets that had been the subjects of public hearings earlier this year.
In other business, Mancini questioned Police Chief Jeffrey Patterson about the increased criminal activity in the township over the last few months.
Patterson pointed to a federal court decision that limits the Mahoning County Justice Center to holding 296 inmates. Those who aren't the most violent offenders must be released, he said.
The jail has a capacity of 564, but because of a funding shortage, the judge reduced the population.
The decision stems from an inmates' victory in a class-action lawsuit in March, citing overcrowding and understaffing.
"An officer arrests somebody, and they're literally in and out the door before the [arresting officer] finishes his shift," Patterson said.
Unless someone comes up with more money or a better way to run the county jail, the problem likely won't end soon.
The people committing the violent crime in Youngstown have connections in the township, and that concerns the chief about more violent crime here.
"If we make it through the summer without a gang-related murder in Boardman, I'll be surprised -- and grateful," Patterson said.