LITTLE ELM (January 13, 2014) Parking personal vehicles on Town streets is perfectly legal and, for the most part, a safe alternative to driveways and alleys, so long as the cars and trucks do not violate any of the applicable parking ordinances or state laws, says Police Chief Waylan Rhodes.
“Cars and pickups parked facing the direction of the lane’s traffic flow are fine, as long as they follow some simple, common-sense rules,” he said. “In addition to state law, the Town’s Code of Ordinances is very clear on what’s permissible and what can be cited by police officers.” Police dispatchers report several calls from citizens with related complaints.
Chapter 98 of the Little Elm Code of Ordinances, Article V “Parking, Driveways and Vehicular Use Areas,” available for review on www.littleelm.org, includes a section that provides clear direction to motorists on this subject.
Among the most important aspects of this ordinance are those that relate to obstruction or interference with service vehicles, including police and fire apparatus, postal service delivery vans and trash and recycling trucks.
“We will sometimes mark a curb with a red stripe to indicate there is no parking allowed because of a fire lane or other emergency access,” he added. “However, even if there is no visible marking on a prohibited area, motorists are responsible for knowing the law.” For example, the ordinance states that it is an offense to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or fire department sprinkler and standpipe connection. These designated no-parking areas are generally not marked with either painted curbs or signs.
Similarly, a vehicle is in violation of this ordinance if it prevents access to a mailbox, postal drop box, or similar postal receptacle used by the United States Postal Service, during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. If, however, a vehicle stops or parks momentarily to load or unload passengers or cargo, there is no violation.
Also covered in the ordinance is blocked access to a trash or recycling container when a collection truck is attempting to empty it. And, while trash containers are not to be left out on non-collection days, parking in front of one on non-pickup days is not an infraction.
“And, of course, motorists should not park any closer than 30 feet to an intersection. That decreases sight lines and diminished the ability of vehicles to make safe turns,” added the Chief. “Special note should be taken when parking around schools, as well. The hazards of picking up or dropping off students near schools are worsened when cars are parked on side streets.”
The rule of thumb for motorists is to be mindful of the need for adequate clearance for fire and police vehicles and apparatus, trash and recycling collection trucks, mail delivery vans and intersection safety.
“Much of this is common-sense, and while police officers may not cite every instance, repeated violations may result in extra vigilance,” he said.