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City Corner: Don't block fire hydrants, mail boxes or sidewalks when parking

May 8, 2011 at 12:08 a.m.


By O.C Garza

When is the next library book sale?

Your timing is perfect. The library has three book sales each year and the next one begins May 16 and runs through May 21. Thousands of used books, CDs and tapes will on sale. For extra savings, pay $5 for a "Friends of the Library" book bag and on the last day of the book sale, you can fill your book bag with books for $1.

Money raised through book sales are used to support the library in a number of ways, including purchasing books, videos, compact discs and digital books.

Are there any ordinances against parking in front of a mailbox? I read your recent column about residential parking on streets and agree that streets should be available for residential parking. But if a vehicle is parked in front of a curbside mailbox, that homeowner will not receive the mail. I was in a situation such as this and was unable to receive my mail for several days. I am not at home when the mail arrives, so I was not aware of the vehicle parking next to my mailbox.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

I did confirm with the U.S. Postal Service that the postal workers on their Jeep routes are not supposed to get out of the vehicle when delivering mail. To answer your question, no, there are no ordinances preventing residents from parking next to a curbside mailbox. Public Works Director Lynn Short recommends that drivers should not block any curbside mailboxes when parking in a residential neighborhood.

The same thing goes for the city automated garbage carts. Do not block garbage carts when parking in residential neighborhoods.

My neighborhood has nice sidewalks so we can safely walk the neighborhood without worrying about being hit by cars. However, several of my neighbors park in their driveways and block the sidewalks and we have to walk in the street to get around their vehicles. Is there any ordinance that prohibits blocking a sidewalk?

Yes. Section 10-20 of the City Code makes it a nuisance to block any street or sidewalk. My understanding is this is a police matter, but a non-emergency incident. To report such a nuisance, call the police non-emergency number at 361-573-3221 and request an officer to come by.

Section 10-20 of the city code says, "The following conditions and acts, among others, are hereby declared to be public nuisances: articles and substances which obstruct any street, sidewalk, alley, gutter, drain or public ground, except such as are permitted by ordinances of the city."

How far away from a fire hydrant must drivers park their cars?

The results of blocking a fire hydrant during a major fire can be very tragic, so stay well clear of fire hydrants when you park your car. The Texas Transportation Code requires all drivers to park at least 15 feet away from a fire hydrant. This gives firefighters 15 feet on both sides of the fire hydrant for handling and connecting their hoses.

Can I monitor my water use using the meter?

Yes. Read the odometer and write it down completely. Then write down the date you read it. After a period of days (we suggest seven days), read the odometer again and write it down and write down the date. Subtract the first reading from the second reading. This is your water use in gallons during the period. Divide the water use in gallons by the number of days between readings. This is your average gallons per day during the period.

Send your questions and comments for any city department or activity to City of Victoria, Public Information Office, P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902, or pio@victoriatx.org.

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