Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Later this month, the Franklin Board of Aldermen are scheduled to hold a mid-year retreat to begin identifying priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. From infrastructure improvements to concerns around town, the retreat will provide board members with an opportunity to voice their opinions and offer direction for the town of Franklin.

Franklin Mayor Bob Scott informed the board that he plans to open the floor for conversation to address parking concerns along Franklin’s Main Street.

“I continue to receive complaints from some of our Main Street merchants about the number of vehicles parked all day and during business hours, on Main Street,” said Mayor Scott. “Many of these vehicles belong to Main Street merchants, government workers and tenants who live in apartments on Main.  I have repeatedly asked that if you work or live downtown to use off street parking but it has not worked.  I plan to again bring up the possibility of a two hour, or some time limit, for parking on Main Street at our town retreat. I feel we need to keep parking as convenient as we can to entice visitors and customers to downtown which is bustling now with varied shops and  restaurants.”

The issue of parking along Franklin’s Main Street is nothing new. The board has previously given Mayor Scott the go ahead to send a letter to all business owners asking them to voluntarily stop parking on Main Street, but despite the request, Mayor Scott said the issue remains. At the retreat, the board will be able to discuss possible ways to address the issue whether it be parking meters, or a time limit enforcement via a foot patrol officer, or another solution that may be proposed during the retreat on Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the town hall boardroom.

In addition to parking, Scott notified the board of a traffic study conducted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation that showed thousands of people pass through Franklin’s Main Street on any given day.

“It was amazing to me to see how many vehicles travel the streets in the downtown area,” said Scott. “The sensors also recorded the speed of the vehicles and I am concerned about the percentage of these vehicles which are going above the posted speed limit.”

On East Main Street, at a random point in the day, the DOT recorded 4,438 vehicles heading east towards Harrison Avenue. The average speed of vehicles traveling in that area was 27 MPH, which exceeds the speed limit posted for that area of 20 MPH.

Scott plans to use the data to show the amount of speeders recorded, sometimes as high as 92 percent of the vehicles passing an area, and discuss ways to address the issue at the board retreat.

Topics for discussion will vary at the retreat and according to Scott, the public is invited to give their opinions and share their questions or concerns as well.

“The public is encouraged to attend the retreat and I again plan to have a public comment period where anyone can bring up an issue they would like addressed by the board,” said Scott.