The city of Elkins may be one of the first municipalities in the country to offer parking for cellphone users.
City Councilman Van Broughton, 2nd Ward, who initiated the plan, said there have been three signs placed throughout town for cellphone usage.
"I've been involved in a lot of projects and this is one of the most important because it could prevent injury or death," he said. "The recent law change banning texting while driving created even more of a need."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor
Elkins City Councilman Van Broughton, 2nd Ward, shows the new cellphone parking signs that are being installed throughout town. He said Elkins may be the first municipality in the country to offer the service.
Traffic statistics helped him to decide to pursue the endeavor, he said, explaining that 28 percent of all traffic accidents involve talking or texting on cellphones and that leads to thousands of deaths.
Broughton said there are three places currently available for parking for cellphone use - along Davis Avenue near Fifth Street, at the corner of Wilson Hill and Robert E. Lee Avenue, and near the intersection of Second Street and Davis Avenue. Broughton said there could be more places designated in the next two to three weeks.
Broughton said he has worked with the Randolph County Development Authority and local business owner Richard Holland to place the parking spots on their properties. The RCDA is going to allow a spot near the railyard on Wilson Street close to the train trestle. Holland is going to allow the city to place a spot in the Subway parking lot along Randolph Avenue.
"We maybe the first place in the nation to do this," Broughton said. "We have already used this as part of a grant application for pedestrian safety."
Broughton said the Elkins Police Department will write tickets for those who park in the spots and are not using their phones.
"Various other cities have called me to get more information on what we are doing," he said.
"I have even had calls from out of state."
Broughton expressed appreciation to the RCDA and Holland for working with the city for the parking spots, and Elkins Mayor Duke Talbott, City Council and city employees for their help on the project.