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City studies proposal to make North Avenue one-way

July 16, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Hagerstown officials on Tuesday considered a petition from 33 North Avenue-area residents who want the street to be one-way with parking on both sides, but some officials had concerns with the idea.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said council members should take into account concerns from emergency officials about whether they could get fire trucks onto the street with parking on both sides.

Saum-Wicklein said she could support the one-way proposal, but not parking on both sides of the street.

Alleviating a shortage of parking spaces topped the petition's reasons for the request. The petition was received in April 1997. Since then, city departments have been reviewing the one-way option and surveying property owners.

No decisions were made Tuesday, with officials asking for police and fire officials to review the proposal again.

Robert Hershey, an East North Avenue resident who drafted the petition, said it isn't safe for people to park in the alley at night and walk through long, narrow yards to their homes.

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Carolyn Brooks, HotSpot coordinator and North Avenue resident, said she doesn't feel comfortable coming in from her car at night despite floodlights in the alley. She also said the neighborhood needs more parking. HotSpot is a comprehensive effort to prevent crime in an area that includes North Avenue.

Making the street one-way would enhance the surrounding system of one-way streets that city officials made official in November to deter drug trafficking, Brooks said.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure said the council should put legislative pressure on apartment building owners to provide off-street parking.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said off-street parking should be required for new apartment buildings and owners of current apartments given 18 months to comply.

Saum-Wicklein said the city couldn't make a new law retroactive.

McClure said the city should provide financial incentives, such as matching grants, to current apartment building owners to encourage them to create off-street parking.

It would help if some private parking lots, such as church lots, weren't blocked off during the week when they're empty, city officials said.

Councilman William M. Breichner suggested making more parking available by redesigning the "cannon lot," a memorial to veterans of the Spanish-American War at North Potomac Street and North Avenue.

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