Friday, November 6, 2020

Windham town council updates traffic ordinance for 21st century

The Windham Town Council amended its Vehicle 
and Traffic Ordinance on Oct. 27, prohibiting 
certain activities such as parking in a crosswalk,
idling a large truck in a residential area and increasing
minimum fines for speeding and vehicle obstruction
offenses. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE   
By Ed Pierce

If you’re cited for speeding by police in Windham, the fine is going to cost a bit more, as the town’s Vehicles and Traffic Ordinance was amended Oct. 27 by the Windham Town Council.

Meeting via Zoom, Windham councilors voted 6-0 without comment to adopt the ordinance amendments, which the town manager said was sorely needed to revise the existing town traffic ordinance.

“This was basically, bringing the ordinance up to date from the last revision dating back to the 1980s,” said Windham Town Manager Barry A. Tibbetts. “So we addressed disability parking more clearly; stopping, standing and parking along public roadways; parking limitations for commercial vehicles on public roadways; obstruction of traffic on public roadways; bridges with weight limits as over time a few smaller bridges have been replaced with advanced culverts so they no longer needed the weight limits; and finally defined “idling prohibited.” 

Councilors also raised the minimum cost of a speeding ticket from $20 to $25 and hiked the fine for obstructing a roadway from a minimum of $15 and maximum of $100 to not less than $25 nor more than $200.

In defining disability parking, the revised ordinance mandates that a person shall not park a vehicle in a parking space specifically designated and clearly marked for persons with physical disabilities unless the vehicle is equipped with a special designating plate or displays a placard issued by the Maine Secretary of State. It also spells out that a person shall not park in an access aisle adjacent to a disability parking space regardless of whether the person has been issued a disability registration plate or removable placard by the State of Maine with disability access aisles marked by painting on the
pavement a rectangular box with white or yellow diagonal stripes

In revising the rules for Stopping, Standing and Parking, the ordinance amendment prohibits stopping or parking a vehicle on a sidewalk; within an intersection; within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, except as otherwise designated by the Chief of Police; on a marked crosswalk; within 20 feet of the near corner of the curbs at an intersection unless otherwise designated; alongside or opposite any excavation or obstruction when stopping or parking would obstruct traffic; on the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a public way; on any bridge or other elevated structure or in a tunnel; or at any place where official signs or yellow striped areas or yellow curbing indicates a restricted, no-stopping or no-parking area.

It also forbids parking within 20 feet of a marked crosswalk and prohibits a person from stopping or parking a vehicle on any public way except on the right-hand side of the way, in the proper direction of travel and with the curbside wheels of the vehicle within 12 inches of the edge of the roadway.

So not to obstruct traffic, councilors also amended the ordinance so anyone parking a vehicle on a public way must leave available 12 feet of the width of the roadway for free movement of vehicular traffic. And where parking places are marked by painted lines, the town says a person must park a vehicle within the lines.

The amendment revision also addressed oversized vehicles by specifying that a driver of a vehicle having an overall length of 30 feet or more shall not stop or park on any public way for not more than eight hours.

Councilors also prohibited parking a vehicle on any public way for the principal purpose of washing, lubricating, or displaying it for sale, or repairing it, except for changing tires or making other emergency repairs.

Parking limitations for commercial vehicles were also established by the ordinance amendment including no commercial vehicle in excess of 10,000 pounds gross weight shall be allowed to stop, stand, or otherwise park upon any street in excess of two eight hours periods, except when in active use for the loading or unloading of merchandise or materials, or for the construction or reconstruction of the said street. It also mandates that such a commercial vehicle parked in violation of the provisions of the revised ordinance shall be prima facie evidence of the unlawful parking of such vehicle by the owner.

The revised ordinance requires that permanent no-parking signs must be placed in no-parking areas in such a manner as to be seen and understood by an ordinarily observant person.

Councilors added a portion of Haven Road from US Route 302, 100 feet from the corner as a no-parking/tow-away zone by approving the revised ordinance.

Lastly, the ordinance amended previous requirements and prohibited the idling of buses, heavy-duty vehicles, heavy-duty recovery vehicles, trucks, tractors, truck-tractor, trailers and semitrailers while stopped, standing or parked in a residentially used area between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. except as provided for in compliance with traffic signals or signs, at the direction of a police officer or while buses are in the act of loading or unloading passengers. <

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