CAPE ELIZABETH — Parking near a popular local beach may soon be limited to one side of the street.
Residents of Surf Road, near Casino Beach at the northern edge of Fort Williams Park, have submitted petitions asking the Town Council to limit or prohibit on-street parking. Councilors will discuss the request June 13.
Two petitions were created and submitted to the town: one asking for the street to be reserved for residents, and another asking that parking be limited to one side. Seventeen people signed the first petition, 12 signed the second, and many residents signed both.
Councilors briefly considered the issue Monday, May 9, and said they will pursue the second proposal.
Police Chief Neil Williams, in a letter to Town Manager Mike McGovern, recommended that street parking not be allowed on the southwest side of the street, closest to Fort Williams.
He said the alternative of restricting parking to residents would be difficult, because roads in town that do not have restrictive parking are more private and out of sight than Surf Road. He also said Surf Road is too close to Shore Road.
Limiting parking to one side of the street is the better option, Williams said, because it still allows family and friends to park, and would not require residents to notify the Police Department about visitors and contractors who must park on the street.
Residents of Surf Road said the popularity of Casino Beach means a growing number of people are parking on the street, especially in the summer. Although the beach is accessible from the street and access is not guarded, its use is technically restricted to neighborhood residents with deeded rights. People also park on Surf Road and walk to Fort Williams Park.
“It’s been a growing problem for years and now it’s getting out of hand,” one Surf Road resident said Wednesday.
Another, Nancy Ricker, said on-street parking can create a safety hazard.
“There are times when vehicles are parked on both sides of the street and a rescue vehicle couldn’t go through,” she said. “There are older people on this street, and you have to have access. It’s not so much the number of cars, it’s where they park and how it narrows the road.”
According to Williams, most of the road is 18 feet wide. When people park on both sides of the road though, it becomes too narrow.
“Therefore, you can’t park on both sides of the road and have the 10 feet of clearance required by law,” he said in his letter to McGovern.
Williams said putting up signs on one side of the road would eliminate the problem.
“‘No parking’ signs on one side of Surf Road would be immediately recognizable by an operator of a vehicle,” he said. “This would be especially helpful when events are taking place in Fort Williams.”
An amendment to the town’s traffic regulations will be required if the council agrees to limit parking after the June 13 public hearing.
Residents of Surf Road in Cape Elizabeth want the Town Council to limit parking on the street near Casino Beach.