Havre Daily News
Havre City Council members this week discussed the driving hazards created by downtown parking and decided to temporarily close two spots near a Havre business in an experimental attempt to address the issue.
The council's Streets and Sidewalks Committee on Tuesday discussed a request by the Havre Daily News to close spots on either side of the paper's Second Street parking lot entrance as a way to improve visibility and lessen safety concerns.
At many downtown parking lots and alleys, visibility is often reduced when large vehicles occupy adjoining diagonal parking spaces on the street, committee chair Jack Brandon said.
“It's a vicious problem all over our community,” committee member Rick Pierson said. “It's a dangerous situation, and not just (at the newspaper).”
Havre Daily News publisher Val Murri said exiting the paper's parking lot can be a hazardous endeavor at times. It's often tough to see oncoming traffic when drivers attempt to leave the lot, he said.
He said he's seen several incidents where a collision was narrowly averted.
After considering several proposals, the committee decided to have city workers place temporary no-parking signs at the parking spots on either side of the Havre Daily News' parking entrance. The measure was approved by the City Council later that night.
Mayor Bob Rice suggested the committee consider making the paper's parking lot one-way, with the entrance off Second Street and the exit through the alley at the rear of the lot. Murri said that solution would help, but added that the alley is at times blocked by delivery trucks.
Public works director Dave Peterson said traffic along Second Street will likely increase when the Montana Department of Transportation's massive First Street reconstruction project begins in 2007. MDT officials have said they plan to keep two lanes flowing on First Street throughout the project, but Peterson noted that Second Street provides another way to access the Holiday Village Shopping Center and other businesses west of town.