Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer
After the new year, patrons visiting Main Street will face new parking patterns. On Monday, Nov. 6, the Franklin Town Council voted to move ahead with a plan to try out temporary parking designs along Main Street in order to address concerns that have plagued the town for years.
From big cab, long wheel-base trucks sticking out into the road, to no loading zones, to pedestrian visibility, parking and pedestrian safety on Main Street has been a hot topic for town leaders for some time. After Town Planner Justin Setser and Town Engineer Nathaneal Moore presented the town with a proposal last week, town officials decided to wait until the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over and then put down some temporary lines to try out different parking configurations.
Moore and Setser have spent the last two months plotting a design to allow the town to look at a way to implement parallel parking on one side of the street, and keep the angled parking on the other. Setser said that after looking at the layout of Main Street, the plan is feasible. “Starting at Patton Avenue, down to Phillips Street and Iotla, we could start the right side going to parallel parking, and leaving the 30 degree angle (parking) on the left side.”
Moore told the board that if they implement the parallel parking, the driving lanes width would increase to at least 11.5 feet, making them wider.
When Main Street businesses have deliveries, one lane of traffic has historically been blocked while trucks unload, a newly designated loading zone will hopefully alleviate that problem.
“I’ve seen it several times in the little time I’ve been here,” said Moore. “You’ve got UPS and FedEx trucks, and businesses have someone stopped in the middle of the road, and another truck is trying to pass and you have complete gridlock. So, we would like at the end by the square to install a loading zone and have this for Macon County Transit, UPS, FedEx and all the businesses. We need to enforce this for it to be used.”
Moore said that while parallel parking may seem difficult for the side of the street that town hall falls on, the spaces will be larger than recommended to allow for cars and small SUVs and trucks to easily utilize the spots. A parallel parking spot would require the same space as the current angled parking in Main Street due to the extreme 30 degree angle of the spots. The new spots will allow the street to be wider so larger trucks now utilizing the angled parking spot wont be so far out in the road, that cars can’t pass.
The temporary parking pattern will remain for a minimum of 90 days. Tape will be used to mark off the new spots. During the 90 days, the town plans to adjust the parking pattern as needed to try different options.