The wheels of government are said to move slowly, and often that observation indeed turns out to be the case. So it’s worth noting when government moves quickly, and that’s certainly what has happened recently in Southington, where the Town Council approved measures designed to keep certain entrances on roadways clear. There are fines now for drivers who block marked intersections, thanks to a “don’t block the box” ordinance approved by a unanimous vote last Monday night.
There are those who might feel this a rather small issue, but most if not all drivers are likely to remember situations when they were unnecessarily delayed from getting to where they wanted to go for the simple reason of another vehicle being in the way. Courteous drivers try to be alert to these situations, and try to keep space open in front of entrances to parking lots and driveways, but it’s no news alert to observe that the world has its fair share of drivers who are not courteous.
Now they will need to be in front of certain places in Southington, or face fines.
The impetus for the briskly passed ordinance was the recent opening of a Plan b restaurant on Spring Street. Under the new town law, drivers who stop within the painted areas of an intersection could now be fined.
Though Plan b is the focal point, the issue along Spring Street is far from new. Business owners along the route report that vehicles waiting to get onto Queen Street can clog Spring Street all the way to the BJ’s Wholesale Club.
“Most intersections that can be blocked are blocked by inconsiderate drivers,” noted Pamela DePaolo, the owner of DePaolo Furniture, on Center Street, during the meeting in which the ordinance was passed. She said that if people can’t be more considerate on their own “the law’s going to have to get involved.”
And so now it has.
It’s clear the town’s intent has been in solving a persistent problem, as opposed to being punitive. Deputy Police Chief William Palmieri said that starting out the emphasis will be on education and warnings, not issuing fines.
That’s a good approach. Drivers are being given the chance to get on board with the situation, which the Town Council has been speedy in making clear.