The Okie legacy
City Council Abolishes Center Parking
Wednesday, 20 May 1953
[Articles transcibed from the official city newspaper
in Woods County. The frontpage headlines were dated Wednesday, May 20,
1953, Vol. 54, Iss. 209, Alva, Oklahoma.]
State Fire Marshal Insists City's
Present System Dangerous, Creates
Traffic and Fire Fighting Hazards
The city council Tuesday night voted to abolish all center parking areas
in the city of Alva.
The action of the council came after long discussion and consideration
over a period of several years. The change will be effective as soon as
the city authorities can complete arrangements which is expected to be in
a few days.
Also, the council discussed the possibility of bringing in a traffic and
parking engineer to make a survey of the business district and immediate
areas to recommend a plan for a uniform parking system that will produce
more adequate parking space to help take care of the loss of space through
abolishing of the center parking.
The state fire marshal, W. J. Marshall, was in Alva in March checking the
city's fire fighting equipment, routes used by the fire department in case
of a fire call, and the traffic conditions prevailing at all hours of the
day and night in case of a fire call as well as accessibility of potential
Fire Marshal Recommends
Marshall told city authorities that the center parking system was a serious
traffic hazard. He pointed out that on Saturdays, day or night, as well
as certain times other days in the week a serious fire in the downtown area
would result in the fire fighting equipment being hampered in going to the
blaze as well as jeopardizing lives and property in such cases because of
the narrow, one-way traffic lanes caused by the center parking.
Marshall verbally recommended that the center parking be abolished and
as quickly as possible. He advised with the city officials on the matter
and they urged him to reconsider further the matter before registering an
official, written demand for such action.
The council had received simlar recommendations from other state officials,
particularly from the state department of public safety in regard to the
center parking posing a serious traffic hazard for pedestrians.
Lives In Jeopardy
It was pointed out forcibly to the councilmen that persons. particularly
children, leaving the center parking areas to proceed to the sidewalks posed
a serious possibility of some youngster or elderly person being hit and
Councilmen admitted that they were aware of the existing condition but
had been most reluctant to take such action in view of the shortage of parking
spaces around the square even though only one third of the parking spaces
were marked with parking meters which normally keep the traffic moving.
Consider 'No Left Turns'
The police department had recommended to the council that the situation
on Saturday night had become so acute on the square that the erecting of
"No left turns" signs at the northwest and southwest corners of
the square were badly needed.
It was pointed out that as many as 30 times in one Saturday night the moving
traffic had been stopped and piled up for a distance of two blocks on the
northside of the square. It was pointed out that the moving traffic had
been so heavy upon a number of occasions on a single Saturday night that
cars were stalled for the entire length of the west side of the square when
the southwest corner traffic light registered red forcing some vehicles
to be stopped out in the intersection a block away to the north, hampering
the flow of east west traffic at the northwest corner.
Change Signal Locations
The council also discussed the possibilty of removing the traffic lights
from the center of the northwest and southwest corners of the square, placing
them on the curb and adding a similar signal on the opposite curbing diagonally
across the intersections.
"We are charged with the responsibilty of the condition," Carl
Shafer, president of the council, told his fellow aldermen last night.
"We have had a number of incidents where children and others had been
struck down by cars because of the cramped one-way traffic condition on
"I know that there will be opposition to eliminating the center parking,"
he added, "But should some child get killed because of this existing
condition then we will face the responsibility of whether or not we have
done our duty as councilmen in the face of the many recommendations received
from state officials and other experts."
Do Not Relish Reaction
He added that he did not "relish" the protests that may be registered
because of the elmination of the center parking. "But the condition
is a serious one and it is up to the council to consider every phase of
the problem before acting."
The councilmen discussed the prospect of where will cars be parked when
the center parking is abolished which they admitted "Had to come sooner
or later." It was conceded that much new parking space could be made
available by planning a system and it was suggested that the city officials
consider getting the advice of a traffic and parking engineer to survey
the areas and make recommendations.
It was pointed out by Marshall to the city authorities that with two, wider
traffic lanes down the center of the business district streets would permit
traffic to keep moving; parallel parking lanes in most instances can be
converted to diagonal parking at the curbing to increase spaces; pedestrian
traffic would be safer; fire apparatus would have more room with little
or no obstructions in answering a fire call and would be beneficial to the
town as a whole letting the district spread out to permit new businesses
to come here.
It was pointed out that Enid, as well as several other Oklahoma communities
which were built on a square similar to Alva, had finally had to come to
elimination of center parking facilities and in each case the towns benefited
and eliminated dangerous conditions.
Wednesday, May 20, 1953 - City Council Abolishes Center Parking
Thursday, May 21, 1953
- Center Parking Will Be Abolished Friday
Friday, May 22, 1953
- Several Give Opinions On City Parking
Wednesday, May 27, 1953
- Charges Fly, ..... Heated Debate at Meeting
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