MARIETTA - There's no way around it.
For the next month or so, parking is going to be a problem for many Harmar Street residents as CSX Railroad makes some major repairs to the rail line that runs down the middle of Harmar between Lord and Lancaster streets.
The $1 million-plus project will include replacement of rails, ties and ballast, as well as paving of the 15-foot-wide CSX right-of-way along Harmar Street.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Harmar Street resident Donna Farnsworth checks out the CSX Railroad tracks running down the center of the street near her home. Parking will be prohibited on both sides of Harmar Street during the next few weeks while CSX makes major improvements on the rail line and roadway.
Scott Robinson has more than one vehicle to park near his residence along Harmar Street.
"I have a truck and two cars on trailers I'll have to park somewhere," he said. "Some I can probably pull into the yard to get them off the street."
Neighbor Andy Ware will also have to find a place to park during the construction project. But he said he's glad to see some work done on the roadway that has several rough spots and large gaps along the rails.
"It's really unsafe now," he said. "I can't ride my motorcycle down this street. It's even hard to drive a car through here."
On Thursday city officials met with Harmar Street residents to discuss the upcoming CSX project. City Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, said parking was a concern, but neighbors seemed willing to help neighbors.
"Most people are going to have to park on the side streets," he said. "But Kevin Malcolm who represented Harmar Place at the meeting told at least one handicapped woman who lives nearby that she could park in the nursing home's lot during the construction."
Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations for the Memorial Health System, which includes Harmar Place, said access will be maintained to the nursing facility during the construction.
"The parking lot will be open. We're even providing a couple of spaces for some of the facility's neighbors from Harmar Street," she said. "Visitors and delivery vehicles may have to take some alternate routes, but there should be access to the lot during construction."
Vukovic said the project will be done in two phases, with about half of Harmar Street, from Lord to Prospect Street, to be completed during the next two weeks, and the remaining portion between Prospect and Lancaster streets to be done within another two-week period.
"The last time CSX paved the street was in 1994," he said. "That whole area is in really bad shape for motorcycles and bicyclists."
Vukovic noted only the CSX right-of-way, a 15-foot-wide strip containing the rails along center of Harmar Street, would be upgraded by the railroad.
"The city will come back next year and finish the paving on both parking lanes on either side of the street," he said.
City engineer Joe Tucker said that work, part of the 2013 citywide asphalt paving project, would include the installation of Americans with Disabilities-compliant curb ramps, crosswalks and pavement markings.
He said on Thursday CSX would begin the initial phase of paving on Harmar Street from the Lord Street intersection to just beyond the intersection with Prospect Street.
"The second phase will continue from about 30 feet north of Prospect Street to the north side of Lancaster Street," Tucker said. "Each phase will take up to two weeks to complete."
"Work will begin around 7 a.m. daily, and continue until dark," he said. "At the end of each day the construction equipment will be removed from the parking lane on the east side of Harmar Street to provide a clear lane for ambulances or any other emergency vehicles that may have to respond in that area."
Tucker emphasized that although the parking lane on the east side of the street will be cleared of equipment each night, residents will still be prohibited from parking on the street in front of their homes during each phase of the construction.
He said city officials are talking with neighborhood churches and the Harmar Community Center about allowing some Harmar Street residents to use those facilities' parking lots during evening hours.
"This project has come up pretty quickly," Tucker said. "And we're still trying to coordinate the schedule with the local trash haulers. But everyone has been pretty cooperative."
In addition to the paving on Harmar Street, he has requested that CSX extend the asphalt to the north side of Lancaster Street which will help smooth out a very rough portion of concrete sidewalk in that area until a new concrete sidewalk can be installed there in the future.