West York residents weigh in on parking, traffic solutions
More than 20 West York residents attended a town hall meeting Monday, Oct. 15, which involved more than two hours of back-and-forth discussion aimed at resolving the borough’s parking and speeding woes.
No decisions were made at the meeting. It was the second town hall officials held within months to gauge how residents want to proceed with road projects that could either make West King Street a one-way eastbound thoroughfare or possibly remove parking spots.
When talking about how the annual York Fair affects borough residents, new resident Tricia Miller — one of 10 to address the council — said her neighborhood generally takes care of one another until the influx of fairgoers' cars flood her block.
“We all come together and are able to pick out our own parking spots,” Miller said. “But, when the fair comes, it’s first come, first serve, whoever gets there first.”
Borough signs designate where York Fair parking permit-holders can park. However, that doesn’t stop them from parking wherever they’d like, regardless of having a permit or not, Shawn Halcott said, adding drivers don’t seem to care about paying a hefty fine for parking illegally.
“If you enforced it more then maybe that would help,” said Halcott, who lives near Shelley Park and is not in the current permitted York Fair district. “I have a security camera at my house, and I go back through to see how many people are ticketed. I can see it in the daytime and the evening.”
Mayor Shawn Mauck said he’d like the borough to change parking permits from York Fair to special event, which would make the entire borough available for special event parking. In addition, he said he’d like to execute a digital approach to ensure expediency when issuing special event parking permits.
New residents don’t know parking rules, and volunteers work tirelessly to issue permits, Mauck continued. He explained he'd like to work toward a more seamless parking approach that includes open communication with York City officials to make sure permits aren't erroneously issued.
West York Borough interim manager Linda Diaz said she is working on drafting a welcome letter that would supply contact information for borough services and West York Area School District schools, as well as important dates and local tax details.
Other ideas offered: street lights should work properly; a Jake brake ordinance or truck signage should be posted along West King Street; speed bumps should be constructed; and the cost and effectiveness of traffic barricades should be researched before making West King Street one way.
Councilman Richie Shahle initiated a traffic study, completed in August 2017, that highlighted "blind" intersections along West King Street.
To reduce the overpopulation on roads, residents broached the subject of creating an ordinance that would prohibit a homeowner from using their garage for storage and not parking.
The problem of houses being divided into apartments, which then creates more issues for parking, also came up.
The borough currently has a moratorium on allowing homeowners to divide a single-family dwelling into more than one unit to rent, Diaz explained, but a house can still be rented as one single-family house.
Officials have said at recent meetings they are trying to update ordinances to move the borough forward and make it a safe, friendly borough.
Sheila Bricker said she attended the meeting to oppose changing the West King Street traffic pattern, but she also told council members overpopulation is a problem in the borough.
She said she used to attend council meetings but gave up because she thought council members had made up their minds before hearing from residents.
Bricker told Mauck and council members she was impressed that they listened, and at this point, they have restored her faith in local government.
The council now has to come up with a comprehensive plan, prioritize projects and figure out how they are going to fund them.