Wheeling police are warning those who attempt to preserve personal parking spaces on public streets.
Highway Safety Coordinator and Traffic Commander Sgt. Phil Redford said there is a year-round issue of residents placing objects in the street in front of their respective homes in an effort to secure a parking space.
Redford attributed much of the action to ignorance. He said he believes many Wheeling residents simply do not know the act is illegal. However, the streets are public and drivers have a right to park in any legal parking space, regardless of residency.
Redford said drivers will use everything from recycling bins to lawn chairs to ensure the parking space in front of their residence will be available when they return. He added that in some instances, cars have been vandalized for moving deterrents and parking in spaces residents deemed to be reserved.
Officers have been instructed to remove the objects and to attempt to contact the resident when objects are spotted holding a parking space. Initial violations will result in a warning, with repeat offenders receiving a citation. Furthermore, if deemed necessary by officers, they may dispose of the objects.
Redford said while he understands many streets in Wheeling neighborhoods are small with limited parking, blocking areas of public streets is breaking the law.
"It's become a common practice in the city of Wheeling, and it won't be tolerated," said Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball.
Police will also concentrate increased enforcement in the downtown business district, where bus and loading zones have been abused. Kimball said loading zones are to be used exclusively for loading and unloading, up to 20 minutes at a time.
"They're not business owners' personal parking spaces," Redford noted.
Redford said police often receive complaints regarding illegal parking in bus and loading zones, mostly from delivery and bus drivers.