The city of Elkins has moved into the 21st century and is aggressively seeking special parking places in the five wards of the city. These special parking places will allow drivers to have a spot to safety text messages and make cell phone calls.
Councilman Van Broughton appears to have brought this idea to the attention of the street committee. Gov. Tomblin signed the bill making it a primary offense to send a text message while driving. The whole purpose was to reduce the number of accidents caused by individuals using cell phones or texting.
If anyone drives around Elkins, there are already numerous places where drivers can stop to receive a call or send a text. Consider all the fast food establishments, the city park, the downtown parking lot, the Armory parking lot, parking metered spots and many, many other areas where one can park. If a driver cannot take the time to find a safe parking area, perhaps they should not be driving. If their call or text is more important than public safety, they should not be behind the wheel.
I would estimate most of the calls or texts are personal and not an emergency. Imagine those drivers out there who receive an impromptu call or text and have to speed up and drive to one of those special parking places just to talk or text. Drivers usually cannot estimate when they receive these calls, so why does the city want to spend money to make signs and for the man hours to place them.
Are there other areas where this money could be better utilized? There are numerous sidewalks and curbs that need attention, not mentioning directing some of this focus toward some of the existing street signs. Is this really necessary for these special parking lots just so drivers can be accommodated? I am sure drivers will make the adjustment to the use of their cell phones. The law was passed to get those drivers off the road and it's time they start facing reality. Is the city going to ticket those vehicles that park in these special parking places where the driver is not making or receiving a call or text. Have we as a people allowed cell phones to monopolize our lives?