For the people who live on Mill Street near the sharp turn in the road, it’s just common sense to park as close to your house as possible, even if that means that your car straddles—or totally occupies—the sidewalk. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting sideswiped by a passing vehicle coming around the bend.
But with cars blocking the sidewalks, pedestrians are forced to walk out onto the street—the same street where people don’t want to park their cars for fear of a collision.
Borough officials took action Monday night when council voted unanimously to ban parking on the section of road where people had been parking on the sidewalk.
“When that sidewalk is completely blocked and nobody can walk through there, that’s a problem, and we had to address it,” said councilman William Henderson.
When the borough receives complaints about blocked sidewalks, Bridgeville officials use the “baby stroller rule” to gauge whether there is a problem—can a person push a baby stroller down a sidewalk where a car parked? In this case, the answer was clearly no.
The new ordinance prohibits parking on the north side of Mill Street from McLaughlin Run Road to the alley at 763 Mill Street. Parking on the south side is prohibited from 722 Mill Street to 732 Mill Street and from 766 Mill Street to 794 Mill Street.
The rule change means that the residents from 722 to 764 Mill Street can no longer park directly in front of their homes. Instead, they will have to park across the street. Or, as Henderson noted, people can use the parking pads that already exist in the alley behind their homes.
This did not sit well with some Mill Street residents, who argued that they had no choice but to park on the sidewalk because vehicles speeding around the bend might crash into a parked car.
One man said that he didn’t see the problem, because he had to push a baby stroller onto Baldwin Street last week and doing so did not bother him.
Now, with everybody parking on one side of the road, finding a parking space will be more difficult, the Mill Street residents argued. Some people were so passionate about parking in front of their houses that they offered to give up their sidewalks if the borough would widen the road. They also suggested making Mill Street one-way, so that they could continue to park in front of their homes.
But converting that section of Mill Street into a one-way road would mean sending traffic down an alleyway, where cars would then have to turn on to Bower Hill Road. That could be a “disaster” waiting to happen, Henderson said.
Borough council president Mike Tolmer acknowledged that some people would be inconvenienced by the parking change.
“We looked at this many times,” he said, “and no matter what decision we come up with, it’s going to affect somebody in a negative way. We didn’t decrease parking. We moved it.”
Police chief Chad King said that officials carefully considered the impact of the change.
“This wasn’t something that was just thought up overnight because one person complained,” he said. “This has been going on for a number of years.”