Neighbors upset over street parking near Huntsville High

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Several weeks ago, residents that live along Gallatin Street complained about students parking on the road. The city's traffic department installed "No Parking" signs that are enforced during school hours. That solved the problem on Gallatin Street, but caused a whole other mess on Rhett Avenue.

About 3 p.m. in the afternoon, every day, is when traffic along Rhett Avenue can be at its worst.

“Without the parking they just line up and down the streets on both sides," says Grant Wright, who rents a home on Rhett Avenue.
"They just keep coming flying up and down the street. They’re not considerate of the community."

Grant says it's always been bad on his end of the street - with cars blocking driveways, speeding, and narrow road access - but it's gotten worse in recent months, as more and more students turn 16 and start driving to school.

"My fiancee has been pinned in the driveway for almost half an hour before trying to get out," says Wright.

Sharon Espey, who owns a home on the other end of the road, says she's seen more cars parked here after the new "No Parking" signs were installed on Gallatin Street.

"Ran them off from there, and they’ve all started parking here on Rhett Avenue," says Espey.

Many residents have begun taking matters in their own hands, putting out trash cans and cones to block off spaces near their driveways. Espey says it's gotten to the point, she's nervous anytime she drives down her own street.

"When I left, I met another car coming in my direction. You literally have to pull up in the driveway to be able to pass," she says.

It's not just frightening residents. Last week, Sharon saw an ambulance struggle to get to one of her neighbor's homes.

"I like living in this neighborhood, like being next to the high school. We would just like Huntsville High to be a good neighbor to us," says Espey.

Many neighbors took their frustrations to Councilman Bill Kling, who also prompted the new signs along Gallatin Street.

“We’re working with the school system very actively to get this cleared up," says Kling.

Councilman Kling says "No Parking" signs have already been approved for Rhett Avenue.

“The bottom line is, people will definitely know that there’s no parking allowed on Rhett Ave on school days Monday - Friday 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.," says Kling.

Espey says that's a start, but not a permanent fix to this persistent problem.

“They put them on this street, they’re going to park someplace else so it really has to be a joint effort with the school," says Espey.

Councilman Kling says he's working with the school system on that permanent solution. A spokesman for the school system says there is a proposal in place, that would relocate a district annex, that could be converted into student parking.

The hope would be, with enough student parking spots, your street wouldn't become the next choice for overflow parking.