Allentown City Council Schedules Meeting on Proposed Parking Law Changes

The Allentown City Council will meet next week to consider a series of proposed changes to the city’s parking laws.

A number of changes were approved as recommendations by the Allentown Parking Authority at its March meeting. They include:

  • Increases the maximum distance a car can legally leave a curb from 6 inches to 9 inches.
  • A 12-foot walkway remains for traffic, and residents may park in alleys less than 20 feet wide, as long as the vehicle is not parked on the sidewalk.
  • Allow the seized vehicle to be released after the owner has paid all parking tickets or has complied with a payment plan imposed by a judge.
  • Remove all references to “jail” or “jail” in city ordinances.

The City Council will hold a special committee on April 12 at 6:00 pm on the City Council Chambers to discuss the Parking Authority’s recommendations.

The agency’s board has developed recommendations in response to an increase in parking enforcement complaints this year. Many residents accuse parking enforcement officers of targeted and unnecessary ticketing.

In response to this backlash, the Parking Authority began holding quarterly “Parking Forums.” In this forum, residents are invited to share their complaints and suggestions regarding parking in the city.

The City Council is tasked with amending existing City Laws, so their votes on recommendations are final.

Allentown resident Betty Kohler, who was a regular at recent Allentown meetings calling for parking changes, called on the city council to approve the recommended changes.

“Let’s finish it as soon as possible,” said Cauler.

Allentown City Council Speaker Darryl Hendricks said he believes the city council will have no trouble approving most of the amendments.

But APA board member Hendricks has concerns about the proposal to allow cars to park in alleys less than 20 feet wide. Allowing parking in narrow streets can be a safety concern if there isn’t enough space for a fire engine to drive through, he said.

“Our fire trucks can’t drive through some of these alleys,” Hendricks said. “If you can park in it, you’re going to have a big problem.”

Twelve feet of clearance isn’t enough for some fire trucks to get through, he said, and he vowed to bring Allentown Fire Chief Ephrine Agosto to a meeting next week to testify to the point.

Next week’s meeting will mark nearly a month since the City Council approved a $20,000 expenditure for the city’s parking authority’s “laws and policies” analysis. Mayor Matt Turk, who proposed spending, said the authorities’ “unbridled power” and the pursuit of revenue at the expense of Allentown’s residents prompted the city to intervene.

Parking Authority officials have also initiated a series of internal changes that do not require a city vote. This includes purchasing warning sirens to allow drivers to move before they are ticketed, and testing new software that alerts cops if a vehicle has already been ticketed. Certain violations within the last 15 days.

Reporter Lindsay Weber can be reached at Allentown City Council Schedules Meeting on Proposed Parking Law Changes

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