Photo by Monica Zalaznik

PSA: Vehicles will be towed if they are parked along festival parade routes

BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Strawberry Festival is back, and that means parades are lined up for this week, so remember not to park along the parade route.

Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders reminded residents and visitors that vehicles cannot park along any parade routes in Buckhannon, or the car may be towed. That includes Thursday’s Junior Royalty Parade, Friday’s Firefighters Parade and Saturday’s Grand Feature Parade – plus any future parades.

“You’re not going to be able to park along any part of the parade route during any scheduled parades in the future,” Sanders said. “We have painstakingly contacted every resident along that route to let them know we’ve extended the parade route all the way down East Main Street to College Avenue and given them ample time to make plans and move their vehicles. All vehicles must be removed an hour before the parade starts; otherwise, we’ll have to start towing, and we don’t want to do that.”

The standard parade route in Buckhannon was recently extended to mitigate clogged traffic patterns in front of the Charles W. Gibson Library.

“It’s a really a safety issue because we don’t want a vehicle that’s been left behind to be moved improperly during a parade,” Sanders said. “Somebody could be injured, and we just want to make sure it’s a safe time for everybody.”

The parade route, also known as Strawberry Lane, starts at the corner of Marion and Pocahontas streets, travels up Marion to South Kanawha Street, goes down South Kanawha Street all the way to the triangle, and then follows Route 20 North to the Upshur County Courthouse, which is Locust Street. It then turns down Main Street and proceeds along East Main Street to its intersection with College Avenue.

Any vehicles parked on the parade route an hour or less before the start of a parade will find their car has been towed. The ordinance gives the Buckhannon Police Department the authority to “immediately remove any motor vehicle parked on-street in violation of Article I of this Ordinance, including through the use of third-party towing services.”

The law goes on to say that “the make, model, color, state license number, or other identifying information, together with the identity of any person or firm who shall have towed the vehicle pursuant to this subsection, shall be recorded to facilitate the return of any towed vehicle to its rightful owner.”

However, the vehicle’s owner – not the City of Buckhannon – will be billed to cover the cost of “any towing or impoundment fees charged for the relocation of the violating motor vehicle.”

In a previous reading of the ordinance, city attorney Tom O’Neill said the driver will also receive two warnings and then a fine.

“While somebody may be towed, they would receive a warning instead of a fine in addition to the tow on a first or second offense because the key for this ordinance is to get the vehicle cleared off the street, not necessarily that the vehicle owner gets fined,” O’Neill said at the time.

View the full ordinance on the city’s website here.  

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