Educating students about where and how they park along 8th Street in Cookeville could alleviate parking problems in that area.
Cookeville Police Captain Bobby Anderson said he does not believe aggressive ticketing is the answer to the lingering issue. Instead, he said education could be the key.
“I don’t know if aggressive enforcement is the word that we would choose to use,” Anderson said. “We like to educate, and obviously the whole purpose of this is to change the behavior and hope everybody parks legally.”
Anderson said the department’s goal is to help residents get in and out of the homes, while also helping the students properly park.
The Cookeville Planning Commission delayed a vote on creating new residential parking districts Monday night. Residents of 8th Street between Washington and Jefferson Avenues say their street has become a parking lot for Tennessee Tech students since parking rates were raised two years ago. The decision was postponed over lingering questions some members have over the specific language of some new regulations the decision would create.
Anderson said currently the Cookeville Police Department uses a combination of methods to enforce parking problems.
“We use reactive and proactive enforcement,” Anderson said. “Anytime we get a complaint about parking, we’ll send an officer out and investigate. Also, when our officers are on general patrol, they will be looking for parking violations as they would any other violation, such as moving violation, registration violations, and things of that nature.”
When Tennessee Tech’s school year begins, Anderson said the city usually begins to receive more parking complaints. He said while investigating, officers will look for more than just parking violations.
“Obviously, when Tech starts back, we will enforce parking,” Anderson said. “We do that around the area and not just one particular street. And a lot of times we will have residents call us to check for violations, but at the same time, we’ll also look for other violations while we’re on routine patrol.”
Anderson said the Traffic Division is responsible for parking enforcement in Cookeville, but other divisions can help when needed.
“Our Traffic Division is the primary division that will be responsible for that function,” Anderson said. “However our Patrol Officers will be called to fill-in for those duties if our traffic officers are busy.”
Anderson said he hopes that the city can work with residents and the university to find a solution to parking problems that benefits everybody.
“I ask that students be aware that residents need to get in and out of their driveway,” Anderson said. “They don’t need to be parking close to intersections and stay away from the fire hydrants. Hopefully everybody can find a neutral way to get in and out of class and people can get in and out of their driveways at the same time.”