A few phone calls and letters from concerned citizens alerted the Globe to a recent situation involving parking. According to one account (see today's editorial page), on June 20, a Dodge City police officer issued a number of tickets to cars parked on Morgan Blvd. south of the Dodge City Middle School.
In a phone interview Tuesday with the Chief of Police, Craig Melleker said he was familiar with the incident. According to Melleker, parking in the area has been restricted for more than a year.
"This isn't new," Melleker said, "This parking restriction has been in effect since they updated the entrance to the middle school."
According to Melleker, a police officer had issued a number of warnings to baseball fans the week before the actual citations were issued. He said that a city ordinance proscribes where parking is allowed near crosswalks.
Ray Slattery with the City engineering department said that Ordinance No. 3501 was approved in late 2010 when the lights were put in at the crosswalk and the turning lanes were added. He said when there isn't any traffic, it doesn't appear to be an issue, but the new turning lanes make no room for parking.
"If you're eastbound, there's a center turning lane and the lane next to the curb becomes the thru lane," Slattery explained. He also said that westbound traffic has a right lane against the curb to turn into the middle school parking lot.
According to both Melleker and Slattery, the idea of having parking restrictions limited to the school year had been discussed when the ordinance had been approved, but due to concerns over pedestrian safety, and possible confusion, it had been decided the ordinance should not have any exceptions.
There are signs for both eastbound and westbound traffic. Melleker also pointed out that although painted curbs aren't required, drivers should pay attention.
"The painted curb is an alert that parking in that area is a violation and you should look for the sign," Melleker said.