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No parking rankles Wheeler dwellers

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By Cindy Simpson

A sign on Rockwood’s West Wheeler Street forbidding street parking has its residents up in arms.

Rockwood Public Works Director Tom Pierce put up the sign after receiving complaints.

Rockwood City Council decided Monday to take down the sign, but city leaders will continue to look into what needs to be done to address traffic flow on the street.

“If we’re going to do something that needs to be enforced, we need to put together an ordinance so it can be enforced,” Mayor James Watts said.

Pierce said a suggested remedy to the problem is to make West Wheeler Street a one-way thoroughfare from Rockwood Middle School to Wilder Avenue, with parking on both sides.

“I believe all of this started from complaints (on part) of a family, groups of families — I don’t know — parking seven, eight, nine vehicles on both sides of the street,” council member Peggy Evans said.

Those vehicles included boats and motor homes.

John and Roberta Dennis of 416 W. Wheeler St. said they are glad the community is focusing on cleaning up, but they and many of their neighbors said parking on the street is important for them because their homes lack driveways.

“We need parking, too,” said John Dennis.

A disabled veteran stays with the Dennises, and having the close access of street parking is imperative, he added.

Another resident without a driveway faces a similar situation. She told council members that she has a disabled child and needs the convenience parking in front of her home allows.

One complaint is that buses have a hard time navigating the road with vehicles parked on both sides.

“I’ve lived here eight years now. I don’t know what the big concern is for it,” said Leslie Jenkins, who has no driveway and five people with vehicles.

“The buses have been going fine for years,” Jenkins said.

An elderly woman who lives on West Wheeler Street has a small driveway that accommodates only one vehicle. According to her son, family members, health-care providers and others need somewhere to park when they go to her home.

He broached the possibility of making Wheeler a one-way street, something the other residents supported.

“I don’t have a problem with one way if they would adhere to that,” council member Dudley Evans said.

Dudley Evans was to meet with the residents and take back an ordinance for the council to vote on at the next regular meeting. That meeting will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 in Rockwood City Hall.