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No emergency, but what if?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

No emergency, but what if?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
May 17, 2009

Fair Diddley Parking

Fair Diddley. Sunday, May 17. A beautiful day. Dry, not too hot. Perfect weather.

But what about parking?

At mid-morning near the Square there were many vendors' vehicles and huge trailers, hogging street parking places that would be better left available for customers who will spend their hard-earned money (and then have to tote their purchases many, many blocks to their cars).

Some of those cars are parked in the 300 and 400 blocks of South Jefferson Street, lining almost the entire length of the east side of the street, which is a no-parking zone from Fremont Street to South Street. (For a closer look at the parking problem, click on the image. Then click on the Back button on your browser to return to this story.)

South Jefferson Street is not designed for parked cars on both sides of the street. That's why parking is prohibited on the east side of the street. But is the number of signs sufficient to warn motorists not to park there? Not hardly.

And did police give a pass today to all the drivers who did park there illegally? Can you just imagine the howls, if police had ticketed every illegally parked car in Woodstock today?

Better not make the visitors mad. They might not come back. But it's okay to ticket residents who park illegally, and police do - to the tune of $3,000-6,000 every month.

And what if there had been an emergency on South Jefferson today? Could two-three fire trucks have arrived promptly and been able to pull right up to a house? Or what about a police response to a domestic violence call? (Or, worst of all, what if a Comcast truck was trying to get to a house to repair someone's cable TV service???)

The 300 block of Fremont Street was a mess, too. When cars park on both sides, two-way traffic is eliminated.

How many years has Fair Diddley been in Woodstock? Does it get bigger every year?

Doesn't anyone do any advance traffic management and parking planning? Why not install temporary no-parking signs to supplement the insufficient number of fixed no-parking signs on South Jefferson and on Fremont Street from Madison Street to Dean Street?

Why not plan ahead and direct the vendors not to hog street parking near the Square? Steer them to the Public Works parking lot past Dairy Queen and have the Fair committee shuttle drivers back and forth.

Put up some "Park Legally or else" signs. I watched one mom park by City Hall blocking the door to the old fire station (and the driveway) and leave her car, clutching the hand of her small daughter as they ran toward the Square.

What do the merchants on the Square think of Fair Diddley? Do they do a lot of extra business on this day? Or does their business drop, because their own customers can't get to their stores and Fair Diddley visitors only shop the visiting vendors and then leave the Square?

Is the Chamber of Commerce or the Woodstock Downtown Business Association doing a survey of downtown businessowners during this coming week to learn their views? After all, these are the people who are here year-round and who pay enormous rents to operate their businesses on the historic Woodstock Square.

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