CROWN POINT | The potential for parked vehicles to hinder fire engine traffic on East Street near the new city library prompted officials Wednesday to ban street parking in the area.
Parking will be prohibited on East Street between Robinson Court and the southern end of the emergency services building, 124 and 126 N. East St.
Problems arose after the new city library opened in October on the west side of East Street, across from the public safety building, officials said.
Vehicles were parking along East Street to drop off or pick up library patrons or deliver packages or construction materials, officials said.
"It makes it impossible for us to get in and out of the fire station," Fire Chief Greg DeLor said. "We have to protect ourselves by making sure nobody parks there."
The Board of Public Works and Safety approved DeLor's request to declare the portion of East Street a fire lane on both the east and west sides and prohibit vehicles from parking, stopping and standing there.
Additional library parking is being constructed at the southwest corner of Robinson Court and East Street. An existing parking lot south of the library opened in October.
The $12 million, three-story library occupies about half a city block between Main and East streets, south of Robinson Court, and has proven popular with patrons.
The facility was averaging about 1,000 visitors a day after opening in mid-October.
"It's a good problem to have," Mayor David Uran said. "It brings a lot of people into the downtown. We just have to be proactive" in handling issues that arise as a result.