West York considers fewer parking spots to improve 'blind intersections'

Jana Benscoter
York Dispatch
The intersection of West King Street and Overbrook Avenue in West York Borough, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert
  • "I can tell you right now, parking throughout this borough is very precious," Mayor Shawn Mauck said.

Trying to land a prime parking spot in West York has been known to spark fist fights among motorists. Soon, the borough’s “precious parking” might become even more complicated.

Borough Council Vice President Richie Stahle informed a handful of residents at a recent town-hall meeting that the state Department of Transportation recommended eliminating several parking spots to improve “blind intersections.”  

Hoke, Herman and Dewey streets, which intersect West King Street, were among the six streets analyzed by Transportation Research Group Inc., which completed the 2017 traffic study.  

“When you are coming down one of those roads to turn on King Street,” Stahle said, “you really can’t see what’s coming at you. The recommendation after reviewing the traffic study was to first adjust the sight lines.”

But before any decision is made, council members said they would like to gather more input from residents.

Stahle, who pursued the traffic study, had been talking about hosting a town-hall meeting since March. However, when asked when it would be scheduled, President Mary Wagner said earlier this month a date had not been set.

Wagner — after the town-hall meeting — confirmed Stahle announced his intentions to "most likely" host it at the borough's second August council meeting. 

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The town hall held on Aug. 20 drew about 10 residents.

Wagner, Stahle and Councilman Alan Vandersloot sat on a special committee and heard state Department of Transportation recommendations to allow for better visibility, Stahle said at the town hall. 

Council Vice President Richie Stahle said PennDOT recommended the borough remove parking spots to improve drivers' site visibility.

Vandersloot said he would like to "hear from residents about removing parking spots."

"Do some sort of outreach to people on those streets, just so they know we might propose something," he concluded. 

Stahle explained other strategies could be deployed in a few months if eliminating parking spaces doesn't work. Those could include new stop signs, traffic lights or speed humps, he said.

"I can tell you right now, parking throughout this borough is very precious," Mayor Shawn Mauck said. "I, as your mayor, will not support you with eliminating parking at all. So, I think there is a more substantive solution to this."

Mauck recommended council members reach out to York City to collaborate on solutions, especially where West York's streets and York City streets meet. 

"In the winter, we have to literally send the (police department) sometimes to break up people from beating each other up" over parking spaces, the mayor said. 

West York Fire Chief John Love said while parking is "precious," he believes that there should be "no parking" in alleys. 

The intersection of Dewey and West Poplar Streets in West York Borough, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert

"I'm for keeping street parking, but you also have people who have their garages so full of junk that they can't park their cars in there," Love emphasized. 

The mayor said he thinks the council should consider drafting a borough ordinance that prevents a landlord from renting a garage "as an individual parcel."

Stahle said the borough will go "door-to-door" to solicit responses from residents on plans to deal with traffic.