Tahlequah Daily Press


September 10, 2012

Don’t park on the sidewalks

TAHLEQUAH — Problems with people parking on sidewalks are not new to Tahlequah. Several years ago, a handful of local officials and dignitaries found themselves in an unwelcome spotlight when they repeatedly blocked sidewalk pedestrians with their vehicles, most of which were of the large, luxury-edition variety.

Sometimes, driveways aren’t long enough or wide enough to accommodate a family’s vehicles. And not everyone can afford a remodeling project to increase slab sizes – or even if they can afford it, they may have no space to relinquish for it. Nevertheless, parking on a sidewalk that runs past your house in a school zone can have especially serious consequences.

Recently, we received complaints from parents who live close enough to the Cherokee Elementary campus that their kids are able to walk to school. It reminded us of a similar situation several years ago involving what was then Central Elementary, and is now Central Academy, the alternative school.

In the current situation, as in the previous one, area residents are parking vehicles over the sidewalks in a school zone. This effectively blocks the young students in their treks to and from campus, forcing them to walk around the vehicles and out into the street. This creates a hazardous situation that could ultimately end in disaster.

One mother told us her 8-year-old child had almost been struck twice by vehicles on Goingsnake, and once by a vehicle backing out of a driveway. She also reported the worst offenders were what she believed to be “college fraternity boys,” who routinely have six vehicles in front of their group home – possibly just the residents, but they could be entertaining overnight guests as well. Another mother said her son, instead of walking into the street, had opted one day to traverse in front of the vehicle blocking the sidewalk. His attempt at safe passage bought him a tongue-lashing from a man who lived in the home, and who didn’t appreciate a 9-year-old trespassing on his property.

Blocking a sidewalk constitutes a violation of city ordinance. And during research for a story about this issue, Staff Writer Josh Newton learned that when violators are cited, the fine is only $5. This specific amount isn’t a part of any ordinance city officials could find, but apparently is a sort of assumed levy that’s been handed down for years – though not very often.

It’s likely that many people who block sidewalks do so for expediency’s sake, and simply have not thought about the danger to children who must walk behind their vehicles. But it’s important that they cease this practice, especially if they live close to an elementary school. They could park next to the curb on the street, where not prohibited, or even in their own yards. But they need to leave the sidewalks clear for the kids.

Mahaney says if someone calls in a report of an illegally parked vehicle, his officers will try to get the driver to move it, and lack of cooperation can result in a fine, as can repeat offenses. But since $5 is little more than an annoying swat on the wrist, a more punitive figure might help solve the problem.

The Tahlequah City Council should seriously consider increasing the general parking fines to at least the same level as used for handicapped-slot infractions, which is $50. That might encourage some careless drivers to think twice before blocking a sidewalk.

It might sound a little steep, especially to those with space problems. But isn’t the well-being of our little ones worth the price?

Text Only
  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins