I’m back after a long hiatus. My editor Josh and I met a couple of times this fall to decide in what capacity I would continue to work for Hellertown-Lower Saucon Patch. What we came up with is nothing short of miraculous. I am to be YOUR quality of life detective, and Hellertown is going to be my beat.
It doesn’t matter if it’s something great or something that needs to be improved. All that matters is that if I see or hear about it, I will inform you about it. And if you see something you want me to investigate you can shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't guarantee that I'll be able to resolve the problem, but I will certainly be happy to lend you an ear, and perhaps share your issue with other Patch readers.
My inaugural investigative subject is a problem parking situation in Hellertown.
I began to look into this matter after a borough resident pointed out to me that there are often parking problems at the Hellertown branch of the United States Postal Service, which is located at 660 Delaware Ave. He also said driving past the post office can be difficult due to common parking practices, which sometimes constrict the flow of traffic on Delaware, causing a "bottleneck" effect.
After I headed over to the post office and observed the flow of traffic around it, I found that he was right.
I saw that because some post office patrons chose to park on either side of the street, passing motorists had to take turns driving down the middle of Delaware Avenue in order to get around parked vehicles.
There aren't official signs that would prohibit parking on either side of this narrow street, but there is yellow paint (which in some cases is barely visible) on some sections of the curb in front of the post office.
What I found most astounding during my visit was many motorists' disregard for the fire hydrant right outside the post office's entrance.
The Pennsylvania Vehicle Code (see the attached PDF) states that a car cannot stand or park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. This law exists to ensure that fire engines will have immediate access to hydrants in the event of an emergency. Just think about what the result might be if a fire broke out while your car was parked next to a hydrant, and you weren't able to start it to move it out of the way? It's a long shot, but things like this can and have happened.
In addition to people parking next to the fire hydrant, I observed a number of motorists parking along sections of curb that are painted yellow. The yellow paint means that you cannot park there for longer than it takes to unload a passenger. It also means that the driver is supposed to stay in the car--not go inside the post office and stand in line for 10 minutes.
There is also a law that prohibits people from parking within 30 feet of a stop sign, yet I observed this one being ignored as well, with motorists parking much too close to the stop sign at the southeast corner of Delaware and Water.
I understand that we are all in a hurry. Our civilization revolves around instant access to just about everything. So, in order to save time, we do things that we shouldn’t.
An example of this is parking on the street, even though there is a perfectly adequate parking lot right across the street from our destination. That’s where I parked when I snapped my pics of the situation at the post office.
The next time you're headed there--even if you're in a hurry--I encourage you to check the lot for available parking. Then, if there is no parking available and you still need to mail your stuff right away, park in the street briefly and legally. Or, if you live in the neighborhood and are able, consider walking to the post office.
If you do drive, remember that if there is no parking in the lot, and the street is full of cars, the post office will be jammed with people (it's their busy time of year, after all). It might be a better idea to come back later.
On the other hand, Hellertown needs revenue. Which is why I challenge the police to step up and make the town some money by addressing this problem. That way, those of us that abide by the law won’t have to bear the burden of a greater tax increase when the need arises.