Why can't restaurant patrons park near fire hydrants???

BD has been hearing for months how the restaurant owners north of Vickery Avenue are calling Lower Greenville NA officers to complain about their patrons getting tickets for so-called minor parking violations.

It's not very friendly to our patrons, they say, and lord knows every parking ticket is one less dinner sold in their restaurant.

Do you really believe they even pay the parking ticket???

This is not an issue during the daytime or non-weekend-evenings, so it's gotta be an anti-restaurant patron vendetta, right?? They go looking for a scapegoat, and in this case it's BD.

So what does LGNA tell them?

Regular readers of the DPD's Lower Greenville Weekend Report notice that tickets issued by DPD and PWT break down into two categories - RPO and Everything Else. This has been a very big part of the City's efforts to make residential streets safer on weekends, when several thousand non-residents invade the area.

There are 18 RPO streets in the Lowest Greenville area, of which 16 are either in the BelmontNA or across the avenue in Lowest Greenville West NA (click on the map for more RPO information).

Based on an informal survey conducted of BelmontNA residents who live on RPO streets a few weeks ago, RPO is universally lauded as the most successful way to protect the neighborhood's quality of life and residents. It's the only tool that cannot be influenced by business owners, commercial property owners or people who do not live in the neighborhood.

North of Belmont Avenue, there are two RPO streets on the west side of Greenville Avenue - 5600 Vickery (the very first RPO street in Dallas!) and 5600 McCommas (installed last year). On the east side of Greenville Avenue, there are no RPO streets (though a few have been planning for them). The Lower Greenville NA officially opposes RPO since it negatively impacts the restaurants which provide much of LGNA's financial support (especially on St. Patrick's Day).

The DPD has only one charge: Make all the streets safe, legal and passable, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For example,

If someone parks their car facing the wrong way at night, that is a safety issue (you may not see the red reflectors until you try to take that space).

If someone is parked on the no-parking side of the (narrow) street, that makes it difficult for the public to drive through, or for a fire engine to place its large support pads on the street in an emergency.

Do I even need to explain what happens to your car when you park too close to a hydrant and there's a fire an hour later?

In the LGNA June crime report, LGNA crimewatch coordinator Darren Dattalo writes...

Parking Tickets: Many of you have received parking tickets recently for parking in the wrong direction on the street. It seems that parking enforcement is working the area again. In order to avoid a ticket, please park in the direction of traffic flow for the street. Also, park at least 15 feet away from any intersection or fire hydrant. People are getting ticketted for this also.

I wanted to clarify that our ENP officer does not write parking tickets, ever. Nor does he call in parking enforcement to write tickets. Although a rumor to this affect has been circulating, LGNA has NOT asked for this type of enforcement. While I do know of certain individuals who delight in calling 911 for the most minor of offenses, they are not affiliated with LGNA or our Crime Watch.

If the ENP Officer is not writing parking tickets, just what is he doing while driving around the neighborhood during those nine patrol hours a month?? BD had no idea you could request your ENP to selectively enforce only certain regulations.

During the first ENP ops on Lowest Greenville (2001?), the bar owners (who were paying the tab) pulled the plug because the off-duty officer was regularly writing tickets on their patrons' vehicles and arresting patrons for public intoxication (and BD was posting the numbers on this website). During ENP III, paid for by bar owners but controlled by Andres Properties, the DPD was instructed to patrol the streets only one block on either side of the strip (between MacMillan and Matilda only), thus avoiding any possible chance of writing a ticket for illegal parking in the neighborhoods. That's why we called it the Extended Bar Patrol.

For the record, BD never asked DPD to start citing cars parked too close to the hydrants or any of those other violations (back in Philadelphia where BD grew up, too close to a fire hydrant was not 15 feet, but 50 feet!). He almost never goes north of Belmont Avenue on weekend evenings, preferring to spend his time taping the idiots we have on our end of the avenue. If you are parked illegally, no matter the violation, expect a ticket.

The DPD is tasked with protecting the public safety and welfare of all residents in the area, no matter how many restaurant patrons get tickets for illegal parking. If your house was on fire, and the hook and ladder was delayed in setting up its equipment, you would be the first to detonate a charge of C4 under the car blocking the fire hydrant.

If the restaurant owners have a problem with this, maybe they should pass out flyers to their customers with simple graphics showing their patrons how to park on the residential streets.

And some more RPO would be nice too.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Safe streets