In a 3-0 vote, with two councilors absent, the Johnston Town Council on Monday night gave first approval to a near .
Mayor Joseph Polisena told the council during the meeting, held at the , that parents have been parking along — and, in some cases, in — the roadway, causing potential problems for rescue or fire vehicles.
"What was happening is, between the buses parking on one side and the parents who parked in the middle of the street, the street was actually blocked," Polisena explained. "A fire or rescue truck would not be allowed to go down the street, because parents would leave their car — actually stop in the middle of the street and leave their car — and go up to the front of the school to wait for their child, which was causing a major public safety nightmare if anything should happen."
Councilor Ernest Pitochelli (I-Dist. 2) said that he supported the parking ban — but also reminded the council and Polisena that when the ban was first proposed, he suggested imposing bans near all of the town's schools.
Polisena replied that "every school situation is different," and added that he plans to instruct local police officers to study the traffic patterns around other schools — notably Winsor Hill, where Pitochelli said parents are parking in a designated no-parking zone.
"What we'll do is, we'll have the police go over there, do their traffic study, and determine where the signs should be placed near Winsor Hill," Polisena said.
As for Barnes, Polisena explained that school Supt. Dr. Bernard DiLullo has already attempted to stop parents from parking on Barnes Avenue "to no avail."
By approving a parking ban, the council would authorize the police department to issue citations and fines to drivers who park along the road, which Pitochelli said may be the only thing that causes the situation to change.
"When they're caught doing that, they should pay the fine," Pitochelli said.
Pitochelli, Council President Robert Russo (D-Dist. 4), and Councilman David Santilli (D-Dist. 3) voted in support of the parking ban. The council is scheduled to hold a second vote to add Barnes Avenue to the town's parking ban ordinance at its March meeting.