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‘Horrific’ congestion

GRANITE QUARRY — The Board of Aldermen moved Monday night to address an on-street parking problem next to Granite Quarry Elementary School.
Police Chief Mark Cook said having cars parked on both sides of South Walnut Street creates “horrific congestion” mornings and afternoons during school days.
Sharon Gardner, representing Rowan-Salisbury Schools, asked aldermen to consider prohibiting parking on the school side of South Walnut Street to ease the congestion.
Aldermen agreed, following Cook’s recommendation to ban parking on the school side from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, between Bank and Lyerly streets.
The town board also asked Cook to come up with a recommendation to protect the on-street parking spots of residents across from the school.
One idea suggested Monday night was to provide parking permits for residents on South Walnut Street.
Gardner acknowledged school staff members parking on the street were part of the problem. But Principal Vicki Booker has corrected that problem, and school personnel are using the parking lot, Gardner said.
Cook showed aldermen photographs of the problems created for fire trucks and police cars when vehicles are parked on both sides of the street.
Two-way traffic is eliminated and the street easily becomes blocked if a fire truck has to respond to a call at the school or near the school, Cook noted.
He said it becomes difficult for a second fire truck or police car to get around the first fire truck.
“That was a major concern,” Cook said.
Cook said he didn’t see a reason why the parking ban on the school side of South Walnut had to extend beyond school hours. Several of the residents along South Walnut Street have to park their cars on the street because they don’t have driveways, Cook said.
Gardner said the no-parking rule on the school side will have the additional benefit of allowing the post office to move a mailbox closer to the school.
The Postal Service had kept its on-street box two blocks away from the school because of the parking congestion.
Cook said his department had received “quite a few complaints” from residents about the volume of parking during school hours. One resident has resorted to putting out cones to save his on-street space.
In other business Monday night, Town Manager Dan Peters reported he has received the resignation of long-time Granite Quarry Fire Chief David Morris, effective March 12.
Morris and his wife are expecting the birth of a son next week, and they have three other children. A full-time battalion chief with Salisbury Fire Department, Morris wants to spend more time with his family.
Peters said the resignation is “very difficult for me to accept,” given Morris’ dedicated service to the town.
Mayor Mary Ponds echoed those sentiments and thanked Morris, who was in attendance at Monday’s meeting.
“We’re certainly going to enjoy some family time,” Morris said.
Morris thanked the aldermen for making Granite Quarry “a pleasurable place to be a part of.”
In another matter, Sarah Cross updated aldermen on recycling, reminding residents that two companies are providing residential pickup in Granite Quarry.
One company picks up recycling for its customers on the first and third Wednesdays of the month; the other, on the second and fourth Fridays.
Residents may call Cross at the town office to sign up, and she’ll take care of the arrangements.
The companies provide rollout containers, either 64-gallon or 96-gallon.
Alderman Eloise Peeler said residents should be made aware the smaller 64-gallon carts are available.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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