Traffic Q&A: Why do drivers park illegally near sprayground?

Question: Summer is here, and many parents are taking their kids to play at the Titlow Park sprayground. Sixth Avenue is a busy street with lots of traffic and the park has a large parking area.

So why do some parents choose to park (illegally) on the busy street that is not designated for parking? What is it about “No Parking This Side” that people do not get?

I frequently see cars parked on the side of the road and their toddlers jumping out of the car excited about the park and not aware of the danger of being hit by cars. The cars are seen swerving to avoid these little people.

What can be done about this? – Liz, Tacoma

Answer: Tacoma police have parking enforcement authority on that part of Sixth Avenue, so we put your question to spokeswoman Loretta Cool.

She said she agrees it’s a dangerous situation, despite numerous signs, ample space in the legal parking lot and officers regularly handing out $37 tickets.

“It’s clearly marked, posted and enforced, and parents still disregard the signage,” she said.

The question about illegal parkers’ motivation goes beyond her expertise, she said, but she offered a few thoughts.

“I don’t think this is a parking enforcement issue,” she said. “It’s a common-sense issue and a matter of making the wrong choice on where to park. Sometimes closer is not smarter.”

“How do you make people follow the codes that are put in place for their own protection?” she said. “I don’t know.”

“Most people seem to think accidents will happen to someone else, or that they can make sure their children get across the road safely, not realizing that the signs are there so this dangerous situation does not happen.

“At some point, I think people do have to take responsibility for being safe all on their own,” she said. “Forget the signs, paint and fines.”