The Vandalia City Council could vote on a change to the parking restrictions along Gallatin Street as early as next week.
The council’s streets and sewers committee voted unanimously to recommend a change that would allow residents living in buildings on Gallatin Street to park on the street in the evening.
Currently, parking on Gallatin Street between Kennedy Boulevard (Third Street) and Sixth Street is limited to two hours at a time around the clock, seven days a week.
The committee’s recommendation is to keep the two-hour limit on the books between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week. The main exception is on Fridays, when parking is prohibited from 6-8 a.m., to allow the city’s public works department to run its street sweeper along Gallatin Street.
By setting the ending time of the parking prohibition at 7 p.m., the city is basically allowing residents of downtown living quarters to begin parking on Gallatin after 5 o’clock in the evening without getting tickets.
The committee’s recommendation also includes designating the three-block section of Gallatin Street as a snow route, which means that no vehicles may be parked along that stretch when snow falls.
Any vehicles that are parked along the street in such instances will be towed at the owner’s expense.
That designation is being recommended so that the public works department doesn’t encounter any problems when plowing snow on Gallatin Street.
The streets and sewers committee, which includes chairman Bret Brosman, Larry Cable and Chad Feldpouch, considered the parking restriction change at the request of Mayor Rick Gottman.
Gottman sent the matter to the committee after Dennis Grubaugh, who has taken on a number of development projects downtown, addressed the council about a ticket he received for parking on Gallatin one evening.
But it’s not the first time the council has discussed making such a change to the parking restriction, which was put on the books in the 1980s to help keep the Gallatin Street parking spaces open for customers.
Vandalia Main Street officials approached the council in the fall of 2007 about easing the parking restrictions after holding an informational meeting on the development of upper levels of downtown buildings into loft-type apartments.
Then, in June of last year, the council again discussed the issue when Alderman Jerry Swarm voiced a complaint about merchants and their employees parking in front of Gallatin Street businesses all day long.
At that meeting, the council decided that instead of changing the parking law, it would ask that city police officers more strictly enforce the law currently on the books.