To ensure access for emergency responders and following a trend of increased violations, drivers are reminded that vehicle storage and parking is not allowed in cul-de-sacs and other areas signed as ‘no parking’ or ‘fire lane’ in Glenwood Springs. Cul-de-sacs are designed as fire truck turnarounds only and must be kept clear for emergency responders. To help drivers remember to keep cul-de-sacs clear, street crews are installing signs city-wide in areas that are not designated for on-street parking.
“Every moment counts when firefighters, medics and law enforcement are responding to incidents like fires and other potentially life-threatening situations such as medical or police emergencies,” shares Fire Chief Gary Tillotson. “Cars parked in cul-de-sacs and in no parking zones are a barrier to crews responding quickly and may even impede successful emergency operations.”
Fire truck turnarounds are required when the street leading to the cul-de-sac are longer than 150-feet. Most cul-de-sacs in town are smaller than the International Fire Code recommends and tight when maneuvering a 49-foot fire truck or other large emergency response vehicles. Per the International Fire Code, cul-de-sacs should be 96-feet in diameter to be accessible by fire trucks.
All cul-de-sacs of 96-feet in diameter or less will be marked with ‘no parking’ or ‘fire lane’ signage. The city crews will be starting with cul-de-sacs in the Park East Subdivision, Cardiff Glen Subdivision, Greenway Drive, Hager Lane/Riverview, Cedar Crest Subdivision, Oasis Creek Subdivision, County Road 135, Lincolnwood Drive, and West 1st Street. Code enforcement will be issuing citations for parking violations.
The City Engineering and Fire Departments are reviewing all other cul-de-sacs in town for compliance prior to placing signs if necessary. City officials are only marking areas that are absolutely necessary in an effort to limit impacts to parking. On-street parking is first come, first serve, and residents may have to park farther away from home to abide by parking rules.
“We know this is not convenient, but it is vital to improve conditions for firefighters responding in emergency situations,” said Fire Marshal Robin Pitt. “With our high fire risk and smaller crews, we all need to give firefighters and emergency responders their best shot to do their job. That includes making sure they can get to you or get folks out quickly.”
Action Needed Now
In evaluating and preparing for efficient public safety response needs, ensuring clear firetruck turn arounds and emergency road access were identified as areas for improvement. Several factors were considered in the need for stricter enforcement and additional signage.
- Glenwood Springs is at a high fire risk. The likelihood for firefighter response is greater.
- Despite ongoing recruitment efforts, fire departments and law enforcement are understaffed. In effect, smaller teams are responding to incidents. Removing barriers to response is critical to maintain safe operational conditions.
- Many cul-de-sacs and Glenwood roads were built under earlier versions of the fire code meaning they are too small for both on-street parking and emergency access.
“As much as we hope emergencies don’t strike at home, they can happen to anyone, anywhere,” said Police Chief Joseph Deras. “We need clear access to uphold our duty to protect the safety of our community.”
In addition to this effort, Glenwood Springs continues to make progress on emergency response tools such as emergency A-line breaks, emergency shelter planning, and traffic emergency management (TEM) planning. Residents may learn more about these initiatives online on the Emergency Preparedness and Planning page (cogs.us/733) on the city’s website.
Right-of-way Parking Reminders
Per the Model Traffic Code and Fire Code, parking is not allowed in the following areas:
- Within 20-feet of a roadway intersection
- Within 5-feet of a permitted driveway
- Within 15-feet of a fire hydrant
- Within 10-feet of a mailbox
- Anywhere with official signs posted as no parking
Any vehicles parked in the public right-of-way for more than 72-hours will be considered abandoned and will be tagged and may be subject to towing.