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Parking restriction near elementary lightened

An ordinance to restrict parking near Monroe Elementary School has been amended to only be in effect during certain hours. The Monroe City Council approved the measure to have no parking from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday on the west side of Jasper Street from West Iowa Street to West Washington Street during its regular August meeting.

The issue was initially brought to the council’s attention last year by bus drivers for the school district. They found when vehicles are parked on both sides of the street it was difficult and sometimes impossible to pass through, especially during the winter months when snow forced vehicles further onto the roadway. Also, it was a struggle to turn west on to Washington Street from Jasper Street when vehicles were parked all the way to the corner.

When first approved, the ordinance stated there was no parking at any time on the west side of the street. The council agreed to revisit the decision six months later to see how it was going. With the amendment, it will only be restricted during the times most used by the school.

The council also discussed a possible business parking zone in an area near the downtown square. Due to issues with extended parking in front of businesses, the idea of instituting limited parking times was made to help keep traffic flowing and not block off close access to buildings.

“I have been in a lot of communication with multiple parties involved and it is one of those things where we want to protect our local businesses. This is an issue that we’re talking about one person that is making a problem that is a .5 and one person is making it a 10,” councilman Sean Wilson said.

Councilwoman Stacey McCoy asked what the current parking regulations are for the area. Police chief Nick Chambers said there is a limit of 24 hour parking on the streets surrounding the square. After that time, the vehicle can be ticketed or towed.

“Maybe we should just enforce that and not do anything with the parking yet,” McCoy said.

The council agreed to table the issue to see if it works itself out before making an ordinance change to parking in the downtown area.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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