Plainwell steps up enforcement of parking lot rules

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By Daniel Pepper Staff Writer

Plainwell public safety officers have started backing up the signs prohibiting drivers to cut through the parking lot behind the old city hall location with their pens and ticket books.
Public safety director Bill Bomar said his officers had written about eight to 10 tickets of drivers using the parking lot to cut from North Main Street to M-89 and avoid the downtown traffic light.
“It slowed down a bit,” Bomar said.
He told city council members at their Monday, March 27, regular meetings officers had been handing out “too many to count” warnings in the week previous.
“The order this Monday was to start writing citations if we witness a violation,” Bomar said.
Many people given warnings, he said, had said they were unaware of the regulation and hadn’t seen the signs installed, so public works employees added red flags to call attention to the signs that prohibit through traffic as well the stop signs in the middle of the lot.
The city began to crack down on people using the parking lot to cut through after businesses complained about the number of drivers doing so and raised concerns about the safety, especially of children, of people in the area.
City manager Erik Wilson said the city would look at other factors.
“Counterarguments I’ve heard from people is that the light’s timing is short,” Wilson said. “Rick (Updike, public works director) and I are working with MDOT to get an explanation of the timing of the light. We want to know if the light is timed correctly and what we can do about it.”
Bomar said he believed the number of drivers using the parking lot had slowed after a week or so of writing tickets.
“It’s going to take a while to break habits,” he said.
Bomar said the feedback from business owners in the area has been very positive and even some from the ticketed drivers.
“Some of them have even been fairly reasonable,” he said.
Contact Dan Pepper at dpepper@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-9571.

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