One month after an apartment fire sent a senior citizen to the hospital with burns, Bridgeville officials are discussing whether to remove some parking spaces from McMillen Street to make it easier for fire trucks to access the driveway at Goodwill Villa.
Navigating a 40-feet-long firetruck into the Goodwill Villa parking lot becomes a challenge when cars are parked across from the building, according to Ray Costain, chief of the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department.
“We’ve had two recent calls there, one of which was a structure fire,” said Costain. “With vehicles parked there we cannot make the swing into the [parking lot] quickly without going over the curb and running the risk of hitting a car parked there.”
Councilmembers asked the borough attorney this week to create a draft ordinance that would establish a 50-feet fire lane in front of 616 McMillen Street.
The proposal would solve the fire department’s access problem, but removing 50 feet of curbside parking could aggravate the ongoing parking shortage in the area that leads to cars parked in intersections, extending out past stop signs, and otherwise crammed into whatever curbside spaces drivers can find.
“I understand the need for a fire lane in that space, but it is going to create some problems beyond what we already have, parking-wise,” said councilwoman Virginia Schneider.
She suggested that council look at ways to offset the fire lane by adding parking capacity elsewhere in the nearby area.
If the borough attorney submits a draft ordinance next month, council could vote on the proposal by March.
Between now and then, the borough’s public safety committee plans to get residents’ feedback on the fire lane concept and explore additional measures that could mitigate the parking squeeze.
In the meantime, the borough will test the potential impact of the ordinance by putting up temporary no-parking signs on that section of McMillen Street.