Avenue E parking to be banned on south side

Ban will not take effect until new law is published and signs have been purchased and installed.

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – At some point, parking on the south side of Avenue E from 2nd Street to 24th Street will be banned in Fort Madison.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the council voted 4-3 to approve the parking ban due to increasing safety issues along the corridor. Councilmen Tom Schulz, Mark Lair, and Rusty Andrews voted against the ban.

But exactly when the city will begin enforcing the new law is up in the air.

According to Melinda Blind, Fort Madison City Clerk, the new ordinance needs to published, and signs need to be purchased and erected.

“I had a conversation today with Mark and Mark (Police Chief Mark Rohloff and Public Works Director Mark Bousselot) and we’ll need to have signage posted before the ordinance will be enforced,” Blind said.

Rohloff said it all comes down to the road just being to narrow for the traffic flow.

“I think all of us are aware you just don’t travel down your half of the road on Avenue E,” Rohloff said.

“Cars are constantly crossing what would normally appear to be the center line, because whenever they pass a parked car they go across the center and the same thing is going on with traffic in the opposite direction.”

Donna Amandus said the issue has been a day-in, day-out issue since she was placed on the council in November.

“To me there just doesn’t seem to be any other way. We cannot physically widen that road. It is a danger and this is our chance to do something about it,” Amandus said.

‘I can see where insurance companies would say… “you know what, we’re a little tired of having to pay for this if the city is not doing what the city could have done to stop this from happening.”

Councilwoman Rebecca Bowker said public safety has to be a priority over convenience.

Councilman Tom Schulz, who has opposed the ban since being appointed to the council, put the issue back in front of the council in December.

The original vote on the third and final reading of the ordinance failed because it didn’t get a majority vote of the whole council, despite getting a majority vote of the council in attendance at the time.

Schulz, who originally tried to vote ‘absent’ on the third reading to get it pushed to a vote of the full council, asked that it be put back in front of the whole council for a vote. The ordinance, upon being defeated on the 3-2 vote Dec. 1, was technically dead on Dec. 1

Councilman Chad Cangas and Mayor Matt Mohrfeld complimented Schulz on the integrity needed to put the issue back in front of the full council even though he understood it could result in his vote being overturned. Cangas also complimented Police Chief Mark Rohloff on the detailed study and recommendation.

In other action, the council:
• approved rezoning property owned by Mayor Matt Mohrfeld at part of Matt’s Greenhouse at 2110 303rd Avenue to I-2 General Industrial. A public hearing was also set for Jan. 19 to consider having the property annexed into city limits.
• approved vacating city property between 2600 Avenue L and Dry Creek to Christopher and Tara Vincent.
• approved appointing Tyler Caldwell to the Airport Commission.
• approved a 6th change order on the city’s Hwy. 61 rehab project from 2nd to 6th Street.


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