Neighbors upset over street parking ban during school hours on Rhett Avenue

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's been about a week since "No Parking" signs appeared on Rhett Avenue, banning all street parking during school hours. “I’m very upset,” says Patricia Gillard, who lives on the corner of Rhett and Gallatin Street.

The signs were added after several residents complained about students at Huntsville High blocking them in their own driveways and parking on both sides of the street, essentially making the road one way only.

Gillard found a parking ticket on her car Tuesday morning, inspiring her to post a sign in her front yard.

“It says I’m a three car family, this is not fair, give the ticket to HHS," says Patricia Gillard.

While she's the first to admit student parking along her neighborhood street was getting excessive, this solution, she says, just won't do.

“And I said, why am I getting a ticket, I live here? And they said Bill Kling said that everybody was going to get one. You’re not allowed to park on the streets from 7:30 to 3 o'clock," she says.

Gillard is now facing a dilemma - her small driveway will only fit two of her family's three cars.

“That’s the only choice we have or park it up in the grass up here," says Gillard.

So she reached out to Councilman Bill Kling, who encouraged the city to install the "No Parking" signs in the first place.

“The bottom line is, it’s their neighborhood and they should be able to enjoy the amenities of it," says Kling.

Kling says he wants to work with the city to find a way to exempt residents from being ticketed on their own street, but when WHNT News 19 spoke to Huntsville's Parking and Transportation Director Tommy Brown, he says while there may be a policy change in the future, for the time being, his meter attendants will be enforcing the law and writing tickets.

“I’m very upset. If I get a ticket, you figure five times whatever the ticket is, it’s going to be very costly a week," says Gillard.

Kling says a long-term fix involves adding parking at Huntsville High, and is working with School Board Member Walker McGinnis to make that happen.

“On a short-term basis, we’re looking at the possibility of using Mayfair Park parking spaces for a temporary place for school students to park and then there might be some sort of transportation that would take them to and from the school," says Kling.

Students we talked to say, they only park on Rhett Avenue because there's nothing else available.

“Because there’s not enough parking spots at school so they try to ask around and park in front of some people’s houses and get permission," says Chelsea Graham, who also received a warning ticket Tuesday for parking on Rhett Avenue.

Patricia's ticket was only a warning this time, but city officials say next week, they'll start costing her $15 a pop.

She's worried, little slips like these are just a sign of what's to come.

“This is a nice neighborhood. It’s peaceful and it’s quiet. We pay to live here and this is ridiculous for a homeowner to get this on their windshield," says Gillard.

In addition to potentially opening up parking for students at Mayfair Park, a spokesman for the district tells WHNT News 19, there's a current proposal to relocate a maintenance annex that could be converted into additional student parking.

However, these are just proposals. The School Board would have to approve the move first.