CLEVELAND — Members of the Hyacinth Community Block Club in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood report chronic illegal parking has become a growing safety concern.
Homeowner Kathy McDonald told News 5 she and her neighbors have been reporting illegal parking on sidewalks to the City of Cleveland for more than a year, but so far residents have seen few improvements.
McDonald said the illegal parking is being perpetuated by some neighboring property owners who are hosting late night parties at parcels that are zoned for small shops and businesses, and not for residential use.
“It’s crazy, cars all up and down the street, they’re parking on the sidewalks, there are people standing outside holding alcohol," McDonald said. "It's hard for police to catch them, we don’t ever know when these parties are going to happen over here, all of a sudden they just show up. They’re up and down the street, they block the fire hydrants, they’re parked on the cul-de-sac, they’re on the back street.”
Hyacinth Community Block Club member Bonnie Norman, who's lived in the neighborhood since 1974, told News 5 the city responded by putting up additional "no parking" signs several months ago, but the problem continues.
"They park illegally, I almost got killed twice in a week trying to pull out, I couldn’t see the traffic coming down 65," Norman said. “Every time the police come they straighten up for a week or so and then they’re right back at it again."
Norman is fearful for what the potential consequences might be lurking as a result of the illegal parking.
"What’s going to happen is somebody is going to get killed before it’s fixed,” Norman added. “It’s like a poor neighborhood so they kind of just shrug us off, simple as that. This wouldn’t be going on in Garfield, this wouldn’t be going on in Newburgh Heights.”
News 5 is not naming the property owners allegedly causing the illegal parking safety concern at this time, as Cleveland Building and Housing Director Sally Martin continues to try and officiate a solution. Martin issued the following statement in response to our developing story:
I have asked our Chief of Police to work with us on this. We inspected in December and found no sign of gathering, which is understandable given the fact that this is a night time issue. We will be collaborating with CPD to address these concerns which we understand are incredibly disruptive to the neighborhood.
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb's office responded immediately to our story urging residents to email his office at firstname.lastname@example.org if they're dealing with neighborhood issues.
The Mayor's office told News 5 homeowners can also call the Cleveland Police non-emergency tip line at 216-621-1234 if they're dealing with a potential safety issue, or residents can dial 311 to find the right city department to help them with their neighborhood problem. Homeowners should also feel free to contact their Cleveland City Council member.
Meanwhile, McDonald is hoping a solution will be found within the next few weeks.
“Everybody just keeps passing the buck back and forth, first they’re telling me it’s building and housing, it’s not their issue, it’s a police issue," McDonald said. "75% of the time they’re telling us they have no officers to send to deal with the traffic and the parking issues.”
Neighbor Joan Sickora hopes the city will take swift action since East 65 Street is busy with young students and pedestrians who rely on consistent sidewalk access.
“When I came to Ohio in 1967 it was a very cohesive neighborhood, and it’s just gone down hill," Sickora said. This can't continue, not in a neighborhood with kids and traffic going up and down this street like it does, with them blocking the road.”