An issue came up at Summit Hill Borough Council this week, with a basis that is common in most area communities. The garbage collector had a dispute with a resident because the resident's vehicle, parked in an alley, made it difficult for the refuse truck to get through.
The resident said there was a new driver on the truck; and that the previous truck driver had no problem navigating past where the passenger vehicle was parked.
One council member said the garbage collector has an obligation to pick-up the trash no matter how tight the drive is, even if it means using a smaller vehicle or walking down the alley to get it.
Frankly, that's evading the real issue.
At the same meeting, meanwhile, there were complaints that some streets in the borough weren't swept during the annual street-sweeping campaign.
It was mentioned that this happened mostly at alleys, and that there were probably parked vehicles which prevented the sweeping.
It's understood that residents need a place to park their vehicle, but they have to be careful to leave plenty of space for vehicles to pass, including larger vehicles.
While it was a garbage truck which had trouble navigating the narrow thoroughfare, what if it had been a firetruck responding to an emergency? Would there have been ample space for the emergency responders to operate and position their apparatus?
The individual who had the dispute with the garbage collector said they won't park there on trash-collection and recycling nights as a way of remedying the dispute.
The person also said they are building a parking area to assure they don't block the alley.
During winter, borough workers sometimes have trouble plowing alleys – not only in Summit Hill but other communities – because alleys are narrow and people park in them. Again, what happens if a fire occurs and large apparatus is needed?
All public roadways, including alleys, should be kept open wide enough for virtually any vehicle. Even an ambulance is wider than most passenger cars.
If residents don't comply, then maybe no-parking areas have to be created. Maybe police have to start issuing tickets for blocking alleys.
Whatever has to be done, alleys and narrow streets should always be passable – whether it is for a garbage truck or a fire truck.
By Ron Gower