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Traffic Commission Discusses Improving Downtown, Center Wheeling Parking

WHEELING – Members of the Wheeling Traffic Commission on Thursday discussed improving parking in downtown and Center Wheeling by changing loading zones and adding metered parking in certain areas.

The commission ultimately decided to table several requests for parking changes to allow for more time to notify businesses and property owners.

At the meeting, commissioners heard requests from Sgt. Josh Sanders of the Wheeling Police Department for traffic changes near Centre Market. Requests included adding metered parking on the north side of 22nd Street near Chapline Street, and removing loading zones near 2208 Chapline St. and 1073 Main St.

Sanders said he also intends to submit requests at the commission’s November meeting to allow more parking for businesses on Market Street between 11th Street and Lane 7.

“My big priority is, I want these businesses to have the loading zones that they need, but a lot of folks downtown Wheeling say there’s nowhere to park, and there’s a place where we could put meters in,” Sanders said.

Tim Birch, Wheeling assistant operations supervisor, suggested the commission compromise by making certain loading zones effective only in the morning.

“You could have a loading zone up until noon that would then open up to metered parking,” Birch said. “If (businesses) make sure they have no deliveries after noon, that opens up metered parking parking for lunch or whatever they want to do. Something like this would be a happy medium.”

In a related issue, the commission heard a request from Renew Refinishing & Restoration, 2128 Main St., to add a loading zone in front of its business.

Sarah Lydick of the next-door eatery Sarah’s on Main spoke at the meeting, asking that the loading zone not be installed if it would remove a parking spot from her business. Birch suggested a similar compromise to make the loading zone temporary.

However, no representatives from Renew attended the meeting, and commissioners decided to table the matter so that they could ask more questions of that company. The commission then approved a motion to send property owners a form requesting that they attend the related Traffic Commission meeting to answer questions and discuss alternatives.

“Parking has become a real problem and the more parking we can create, I feel, the city of Wheeling will be better off. There’s just no place to park,” Commissioner Patrick Duffy added.

In other matters, the commission approved a request by Sanders to remove a stop sign at the corner of 18th and Market streets. The stop sign isn’t needed after the section of 18th Street between Main and Market streets closed to traffic in August.

Commissioners also approved adding three stop signs near the intersections of Hawthorn Court, Emerson Avenue and Archibald Avenue in Woodsdale.

The commission received a petition with about 20 signatures complaining about speeding drivers in the area. Birch conducted a traffic study and found that most people were driving from around 20 to 24 miles per hour, however.

“People who are signing this are more familiar, and looking at it today under those conditions, I think we really should do what they want,” Duffy said.

In addition, the commission approved a handicapped space in front of a residence on Warwood Avenue. All traffic changes must be approved by Wheeling City Council before they go into effect.

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