City police to crack down on cross-lane parkingPublished 6:02am Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said his department is preparing to crack down on a driving practice that actually violates a city ordinance.
The practice is cross-lane parking, which basically means a car travelling north through downtown Russellville isn’t allowed to cross all lanes of traffic to park on the opposite side of the street facing the other direction.
Hargett said the ordinance was actually enacted in 2002 but the practice is becoming commonplace in downtown Russellville and is becoming a traffic hazard.
“I have actually seen firsthand how dangerous this can be because I nearly hit a person who was crossing lanes of traffic to park at the police department,” Hargett said.
“We’ve had several people call and complain that the practice is just getting worse, and we plan to put a stop to it because it’s against city ordinance to do so but it’s also just dangerous to other drivers.”
Hargett said the downtown area can become congested, especially during the middle of the workday, and when people are crossing multiple lanes to get to a parking spot on the opposite side of the road, it poses a safety hazard.
“The worst spots seem to be near the courthouse and the police department and by the post office and city hall,” Hargett said.
“I know it may seem inconvenient to make the block and approach the parking spot from the correct direction of the flow of traffic, but it’s safer to do it that way,” he said.
“Trying to cut corners or save yourself a few extra seconds could result in a traffic accident that will be much more inconvenient than just going around the block and parking the correct way.”
Hargett said police officers will be issuing warning first and will soon move over into issuing citations.
He said since the practice isn’t a traffic offense but an ordinance violation, penalties associated with a citation would be different.
According to Russellville City Ordinance, violation of this particular ordinance can carry a fine of up to $500 or jail time of up to three months.
“Those are some pretty steep penalties just to save a few minutes,” Hargett said. “Hopefully everyone will learn to park the correct way and avoid these unsafe practices.”