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OLEAN – New parking restrictions are afoot in the Fifth Ward to improve access to emergency and maintenance vehicles.

Ward 5 Alderman James Finch, who completed a study of street access, suggested parking restrictions for the west side of North Eighth and North 11th streets. The Common Council approved those restrictions Tuesday night.

“The streets are just not wide enough,” Finch said. “If someone in the middle of the block needs a fire truck or ambulance, there is just not enough room. These are the last two streets that need to be done in the Ward. We did the same thing to North 10th Street three years ago, and the 200 block of North 11th last year. I have had a couple conversations with residents that want the 100-block done this year.”

The only street in the city’s Fifth Ward that is wide enough to have parking on both sides of the street and still allow emergency and maintenance vehicles is North Ninth Street, Finch said.

In other matters, a streetlight will be installed on Reed Street in Ward 4. The light will be in the middle of a dark block, according to Ward 4 Alderman, Matthew Keller.

“The light will be in a part of the street with a lot of traffic and other obnoxious noises late at night,” Keller said. “I have been asked by many residents for this.”

The light met mild opposition from Ward 6 Alderman Nate Smith, who reminded Keller that every light in the city costs about $1,000 a year in operational costs. Smith voted for the light, however.