By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – In the past five years, the Tupelo Traffic Committee has entertained 25 separate requests to install “No Parking” signs around the city, and they denied an overwhelming majority of them.
“Because a ‘No Parking’ sign means you can’t park there, either,” said City Council President Fred Pitts, whose own request for such a sign on Mulberrry Street was rejected last month by the committee.
Pitts is among several public officials who petition the committee on behalf of private residents.
Most “No Parking” sign requests, though, come directly from the residents themselves. Some cite a wish to alleviate potential traffic dangers. Others say parked vehicles block their drives or their views, and they want relief, according to testimony provided in committee minutes.
Once a sign goes up, it does solve the immediate problem cited by the resident. But it allows no leeway if that resident – or his neighbors – host guests who need a place to park for a few hours. They risk getting a citation and paying a fine.
“We don’t want people to park in the yards,” said Mayor Jack Reed Jr. during a recent discussion about the issue at City Hall.
Parking in the yard also violates Tupelo’s ordinance and can result in a ticket and a fine.
In the same five-year window, the committee received five requests to remove “No Parking” signs. Of them, three were approved.
Removal requests, though, are rare compared to the number of installation pleas received by the committee. Its members represent different municipal departments, including Police, Fire, Development Services and Water & Light.
Tupelo Water & Light Manager Johnny Timmons said it sometimes seems as if the committee gets a half-dozen “No Parking” requests per meeting. The group meets about six times annually.
Of the nearly two dozen such requests received since March 2007, just seven won approval – and of those seven, six were brought forward by city employees or neighborhood associations. Among the 18 denied, three came from city representatives, including Pitts.