Council invokes parking restrictions for safety reasons
Upon the request of Elberton Police Chief Mark Welsh and after reports of emergency vehicles being delayed due to traffic issues around Taste and Cee BBQ, located at 529 Almond St., council members voted 5-0 to restrict parking to one side of the street on four streets surrounding the business.
In a letter to council members, Chief Welsh requested a change to the city map documenting “No Parking Tow Away Zones” on Almond, Willow, Williams and McKinley streets.
In the letter, Welsh states, “Over the past few years, this business (Taste and Cee BBQ) and its predecessor, JuJu’s, has been the nexus for large disorderly crowds, intoxicated persons, fights, shootings and aggravated assaults.”
The letter went on to say parking restrictions had been tried in the past due to crowds and vehicles parking on both sides of the roadway, restricting emergency vehicles from being able to get through and provide emergency services when needed.
The request was denied at that time.
Welsh said. “the problem still exists and now residents are voicing their concern over the large crowds and the fact that the roads are almost impassable due to the traffic the business attracts.”
The letter from Welsh requested the change be implemented immediately.
Welsh submitted supporting documents, including a map of the proposed “No Parking Tow Away Zones” and a report drafted and filed by Capt. Stephanie Hughes of the Elberton Police Department.
According to the report, the area was monitored by officers on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
On Friday, May 6, 2016, the department received no calls from the area of Almond/Willow streets.
The area was heavily congested due to vehicles parking on both sides of the street allowing for only one-way traffic. Photos were taken of the area and submitted to the department via a digital file.
The report did state there was also a large gathering at the Blackwell Cultural Center and that Councilman Bobby Hunt asked for a police presence at the conclusion to speed up the clearing of the parking lot.
On Saturday, May 7, 2016, the report documented problems with the traffic situation in the area.
According to the report, “Two officers were dispatched to 401 Wilcox Heights in reference to suspicious activity. Both officers were in the Almond/Willow streets area and became gridlocked and could not immediately respond to the call due to vehicles lining both sides of the streets, making room for only one-way traffic.”
Hughes stated she then responded to the call.
Once clear of the area and after getting vehicles to back up on Willow Street, the two other officers arrived on the scene.
The officers were instructed to document what they experienced during the call.
The officers returned to the Almond/Willow streets location and continued to document the traffic issues.
On Sunday, May 8, 2016, the report stated officers from the Elberton Police Department and the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call in the Almond/Willow streets area in reference to shots being fired.
An investigation was conducted but the suspects were gone on the officers’ arrival.
With the approval by council, the curbing will be painted and proper signage will be placed notifying drivers of the new “No Parking Tow Away Zones.”