Parking: fault or no fault? Times investigates intersection of Seventh and Washington Streets in Portsmouth, Ohio

By Frank Lewis -

The corner of Washington Street and Seventh Street

The corner of Washington Street and Seventh Street

Over the weekend, the Daily Times snapped a photo of a car parked across the sidewalk on Washington Street, and barely visible to the naked eye was the front of a red car passing by it. In the blink of an eye, the car appears to come out of nowhere and any car pulling out of Seventh Street headed east, would most likely be hit by that car.

That intersection has been a point of discussion by people who have to cross Washington Street from Seventh Street because cars parked across the sidewalk or on the yellow striping in the north side of Seventh Street obscure the view of motorists looking north.

The Times sent a records request to the Portsmouth Police Department inquiring about the two-year history of crashes in that intersection. Chief Robert Ware responded with the reports and it seems only two reported accidents happened with the same scenario as the crash that occurred on Feb. 16, 2017.

In that crash, which prompted the Times’ investigation, a car traveling west on Seventh Street reportedly ran a stop sign and pulled into the path of a vehicle northbound on Washington Street, and was struck by that vehicle, causing the vehicle coming from Seventh Street to roll onto its side crashing into a parked vehicle.

The other accident happened in 2016, when the operator of a westbound vehicle that had stopped at the stop sign on the east side of the intersection failed to yield while attempting to cross Washington Street and was struck by a southbound vehicle, the scenario at the center of the investigation.

In the response to the records request made by the Times, Ware gave the Times a report on the history of the intersection.

“There are two crashes in four years that have occurred as the result of the actions of a driver attempting to cross Washington Street from in front of the restaurant,” Ware said. “One operator ran a stop sign that the operator of the vehicle claimed they didn’t see because of a delivery truck making a delivery to another local business. It did not occur during the lunch rush. The second, which did occur before 2 p.m., was the result of the operator not seeing the middle lane southbound vehicle on the other side of the southbound vehicle which was making a right turn onto Seventh Street.”

Ware said dating back to Jan.1, 2013, there have only been two out of 10 crashes that have occurred with vehicles that were operating in front of the restaurant. In both cases, there was no correlation or causal effect to or from vehicles parked, legally or illegally, near the restaurant.

“As for parking enforcement, with a few exceptions, parking is not enforced on private property, unless in violation of an applicable city ordinance,” Ware said. “Parking on public roadways is enforced when observed, subject to officer availability. As you know, we do not have a dedicated person for parking enforcement, so parking complaints are handled along with the multitude of other demands for service.”

The corner of Washington Street and Seventh Street corner of Washington Street and Seventh Street

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-370-0711

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-370-0711