Last week, while on a routine phone call to VDOT inquiring about having crosswalks from the beach to the handicapped accessible curbs across the street, as well as creating handicapped parking stalls next to the pavilion, Town Planner Larry DiRe offhandedly asked highway department representative Dale Pusey about the ‘possibility’ of having ‘front end, or pull-in’ parking installed on Bay Avenue.
The response was interesting in that Pusey remarked that there were no prohibitions on front end parking per se, and that providing for certain conditions, and if the Town could respond to certain questions asked by VDOT in a favorable way, VDOT engineers would most certainly entertain an application or permit that would allow front, pull-in parking on Bay Ave (or anywhere else in town).
The question is, if front, pull-in parking is not prohibited by VDOT, where did the town come up with the notion that they were required to use reverse-angle parking on Mason Avenue in the first place? Did anyone from the Town actually contact VDOT about this prior to the decision to use a method of parking the majority of the town considers somewhat backwards? During the Town Council’s regular meeting, Councilman Wendell asked Town Manager Manuel point blank if he could give him the name of the VDOT representative that said only reverse-angle parking was permitted. Manuel only remarked, “I cannot recall.” As time goes by, it appears that Mayor George Proto and his merry men on Council are becoming alarmingly more distant and disengaged. In this instance, the Mayor and Mr. Manuel have some explaining to do.
Mr. DiRe should be commended for taking the initiative and finally attempting to get a definitive answer on what kinds of parking are actually acceptable to VDOT, as it appears pull-in certainly is. Why it took him or anyone else on Town staff this long is a question the citizens of Cape Charles deserve to have answered.
For so many months now, the Planning Commission, led by Chairman Dennis McCoy and Councilwoman Joan Natiali, have been pointing fingers at VDOT, blaming them for the reverse-angle parking debacle, essentially crying ‘they made us do it’. It appears now the Commission either did not have enough understanding of the engineering to ask VDOT the right questions, such as ‘are we allowed to use pull-in parking on Mason Avenue’, or they just did not have enough vowels available to even formulate a question at all.
Either way, before the Town considers anything on Bay Avenue, they need to go back to VDOT and provide them with certain conditions, such as 99.99967% of the town’s population, as well as most tourists, find the current parking scenario abhorrent, and want it changed. Then, answer a few questions in a favorable way, paint over the old lines, and paint new ones at a proper angle—the way they were meant to be in the first place.