El Conejo Corredor, the burrito and taco truck, run by Brian Cole ’11, has recently been accruing parking tickets on Spring Street. The truck received a parking warning and three $15 parking tickets in April.
Chief Kyle Johnson of the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) said, “The burrito truck is held to the same standard as anyone else who parks on Spring Street. Therefore, [parking] more than one hour between [9 a.m. and 5 p.m.] is subject to a $15 overtime parking ticket.”
After a meeting with Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin yesterday afternoon, Cole was informed that it is possible that the WPD has actually misinterpreted this law. As it currently states in Chapter 130, Article V, Schedule VIII of the Code of Williamstown, both the west and east sides of the street have a time limit of one hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In his discussion with Cole, Fohlin stated that the law was meant to be interpreted as no more than one hour in one specific parking spot, which would mean, in theory, that Cole would be able to move the truck to a different spot on Spring Street each hour without getting a ticket. As it is currently enforced by the WPD, moving the truck still results in a ticket. Fohlin’s interpretation was based partially on how difficult it would be to consistently enforce the law as it stands.
“It needs to be a law that they can apply equally to everything and is enforceable,” Cole said. “It might be enough to get around the problem if the chief of police is convinced he is reading the law incorrectly.” Another option would be to reword the Code of Williamstown in order to clarify it.
In the meantime, Johnson reported that the WPD had suggested that the truck utilize the municipal lot at the end of Spring Street, where there is no time limit. Using that lot, however, may not be as easy as it sounds. Cole explained in an interview that there are numerous reasons the lot across from Tunnel City Coffee is not the optimal place for a food truck.
“I want to mix it up with other retailers at the top of the street,” Cole said. “On a rainy day, people won’t want to walk down,” he explained, especially when there are other food options that are closer. He also commented that in order to fit the truck in the lot at the end of the street, he needs to have two spaces and an additional space to make sure people can access the side of the truck. “I have to go at 6 a.m. to get those spots and then I keep them until 2 p.m.,” Cole said. “The town loses those spots for practically a whole day.”
A solution to Cole’s parking situation is still being discussed by both the town and the WPD. If changes in the law are not made, Cole mentioned that there might be other options. “I’d like to see how the parking issue gets resolved before pursuing with either the school or other private property owners the possibility of leasing a parking space,” Cole said.