By Megan Alley
The village of Amelia Police Department is cracking down on cars parked in the sidewalk, which is a serious safety issue and is against the law in Ohio.
The initiative comes after concerns about the problem, which is persistent in many communities throughout the county, were raised at the June 21 Amelia council meeting.
Resident Ellen Franchina, who is hearing impaired, spoke about her concerns about parked cars blocking sidewalks.
“Mr. Mayor [Todd Hart], I have spoken to you personally about this previously … what I’m here to speak about is safety,” she said. “There are people parking on the sidewalks, and I have asked repeatedly to have what’s already in effect enforced.”
Ohio Revised Code prohibits parking on sidewalks.
Franchina added, “It is not safe for me to walk down the sidewalk and have to go out in the street; I cannot hear a car approaching. If I have my grandchild with me, same thing.”
She also spoke about a neighbor, and mother, who is wheelchair-bound and has to go with her daughter in the street to go around cars.
“It’s not safe, and I request, ask, and I am now requiring that this start to be enforced, and continuously enforced, for the safety of the people who live here in Amelia village,” Franchina said.
While Hart did not remember speaking to Franchina previously, he was moved to address the issue.
“I have no problem talking to Chief [Jeff Wood] to enforce this,” he said.
Wood was quick to confirm that the blocking of sidewalks by cars is illegal, and he urged witnesses of the practice to contact the police department.
“We can’t be everywhere at one time – we’re dealing with 600 calls a month – but, if you see that, call us, and we will stop by,” he said.
Wood went on to speak candidly about his and his officers’ approach to the issue in the past.
“A lot of times, and I do it myself, I’ll drive by and see it, and I’ll come back through and check it again,” he said. “I don’t want to bother all the residents when they’re just stopping in real quick – a lot of people drop off kids, or whatever – we get called away, it may be a couple hours, we come back, and the car’s gone.”
He quickly added, “Like I said, if you see it, call us; we’ll get over there and take care of it.”
Fellow resident Scott Hauff, who lives on a cul-de-sac, admitted to parking on the sidewalk.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know that was illegal; I’m glad you brought it up,” he said.
To report a car that is blocking the sidewalk, call the Amelia Police Department at 513-752-1230.
Reach Megan Alley at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 513-732-2511 ext. 111.