Published September 27, 2012
No parking — Signs address subdivision’s parking problems
By Nico Rubello firstname.lastname@example.org
CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Last school year, Wrobel Street was filled with the cars of Chippewa Valley High School students who would line both sides of the street and then walk next door to the school.
But so far this school year, it isn’t cars, but rather “No Parking” signs that are lining Wrobel, Kuecken, Zanger and Costello streets to prohibit curbside parking between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on school days. Residents say they’re grateful that the signs, which were installed in early September, seem to have resolved the parking issue.
“If you were to come here last year, it would be wall-to-wall cars,” said Kathy Francis, a 25-year Wrobel Street resident. “My main concern was the safety.”
In the winter, when the sides of the street were lined with snowbanks, the students would just park farther out in the street, making it difficult for buses to get down the streets. Residents were concerned that a fire truck or rescue vehicle wouldn’t have been able to fit between the cars either. The students also blocked fire hydrants and mailboxes.
By parking in the subdivision, the students avoided parking fees and the supervision of school security guards.
Residents said the students would often gather on the walkway that connects the subdivision to the school parking lot, as well as congregate in front yards and leave drug paraphernalia, cigarette butts and trash behind for homeowners to pick up.
Street parking had been prohibited in the subdivision before, but the “No Parking” signs were removed a few years ago after it was discovered that they were not properly authorized. After that, students started parking on the streets again.
Residents said they petitioned the Michigan State Police for new signs, but ultimately got nowhere. Then, several months ago, they sought out the support of township trustees.
That’s when township Trustee Joie West requested the help of state Rep. Anthony Forlini, whom she had worked with when he was a Harrison Township supervisor. Trustee Ken Pearl, a past Chippewa Valley school board member, also became involved.
With Forlini’s involvement, the Michigan State Police issued an order to the Macomb County Department of Roads to put up the “No Parking” signs, West said.
“I’m very happy that the township helped us,” Francis added.
Diane Blain, director of school and community relations for Chippewa Valley Schools, said the parking issue was an ongoing concern for the school, as well. Chippewa Valley was working with the township and staying informed of the effort to install the signs, she said.
The school installed security cameras and posted security guards near the walkway from time to time, Blain added. However, the school has no jurisdiction over the subdivision streets because they are off school property.
“Certainly, we were waiting to hear about the signage. Once that was resolved, we felt that the residents would be satisfied with that outcome, and we were satisfied with that outcome as well,” she said.
While residents are generally happy with what the signs have accomplished, some said they were somewhat concerned that either they or their guests may be ticketed for parking on the street during the day.
Costello Street resident Katrina Dedvukaj said she hoped police check license plates and make special consideration for residents who live on the street.
Cathy Marrs, who lives in a house bordering the walkway, said while the signs have taken care of the parking problem, she would like to see the walkway shut down because students still litter and loiter outside her house.
During the school year, Marrs and her husband pick up hundreds of cigarette butts thrown into their front yard and backyard every week, she said. Last summer, they even put up a privacy fence because students were trespassing in their yard and harassing their dog.
However, some of those who live in the subdivision do use the walkway to get to the school’s athletic track.
“There are two other exits from our subdivision to the high school,” Marrs said. “It’s just a little farther out of the way.”
Blain said some Chippewa Valley students who live in the neighborhood also use the walkway, so the school wouldn’t want to shut it down unless problems persist.
“We kind of wanted to see what happens with the signage, and what kind of resolution that brings, before we put up a fence,” she said.