Accident prompts city council to declare no parking zoneJust a week after a student was hit by a car while crossing Akin Road, the Farmington City Council has decided to make that section of the street a no parking zone.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Just a week after a student was hit by a car while crossing Akin Road, the Farmington City Council has decided to make that section of the street a no parking zone.
On Monday, council members gave Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist approval to put up temporary no parking signs in the area 100 feet north of the stop signs at 208th Street and 1,200 feet to the south. By Tuesday afternoon, those signs were out.
And Tuesday evening, officers were looking for violators.
‘Element of danger’
Parking near the middle school campus has been problematic over the years, Lindquist told council members, but vehicles had mostly parked along 208th Street during practices for the youth soccer program.
This year, though, the soccer program changed locations and the middle school fields are now being used for youth football. With that program change came an increase in vehicles, many of which were parked along Akin Road.
Congestion around the intersection has made Lindquist uncomfortable, particularly since the speed limit where people are parking on Akin Road is 50 miles per hour. Limited visibility can — and did — cause an accident.
On Sept. 8, a youth football player was struck as he crossed Akin Road. The boy’s leg was broken, but Lindquist knows it could have been worse. The incident caused him to find a solution.
“There’s an element of danger I’m uneasy with there,” he said.
A temporary fix
The signs that were posted Tuesday are temporary, and will stay in place until Lindquist can talk to school district officials and find some solutions to the problem. The situation itself may even be temporary, he said, as the youth football program may move again once the new high school opens.
Taking away parking on Akin Road could lead to other problems, he realizes, especially if parents choose instead to park on the side roads in the neighborhood that abuts the school campus.
Prior to Monday’s meeting, Lindquist patrolled the area, going into the middle school parking lot. He found plenty of available parking there, but parents were not using the lot.
“It will be different a year from now,” he said at Monday’s meeting, “but (the problem) does exist now, and that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do anything about it.”
The increased traffic around the Akin Road/208th Street intersection also caused a bit of a traffic jam Monday, Lindquist said. At one point, he called an officer to the intersection to assist with traffic control because there was a backup of southbound vehicles trying to turn left onto 208th Street.
Lindquist planned to have an officer in the area the next time football practice was held at those fields to deter parents from parking along Akin Road. At first, he said, officers would advise drivers of the no parking zone and ask them to move. But the time will come when officers will be instructed to ticket any violators, resulting in a $25 or $30 fine.
“My desire is to address it immediately tomorrow with the signs,” he said. “We do have to see how quickly we can work through this.”
Council members gave Lindquist authorization to place permanent no parking signs along Akin Road if, after speaking with school district officials, he believes that is the best solution The cost would be approximately $500.
Farmington city council member Christy Jo Fogarty favored the parking restriction, but placed part of the blame on School District 192 officials. She pointed out that parking around the middle school campus has been problematic for years, and yet the football program — with its large number of players — was relocated this year.
“This was a monumental lack of judgment,” she said. “I can’t believe a child was hurt because the school district is having trouble scheduling things.”