The holiday season is officially upon us. With this comes all the splendid holiday shopping that will be taking place from now until the start of the New Year. Please keep in mind that fire lanes in front of grocery, retail and other stores were not put there for the ease of running to Redbox for a quick movie.
Most people, when confronted by an officer about parking in a fire lane, will say that they were only parking there for a second and will move if they see a fire truck coming. Although the officers appreciate the fact that you will move if the building is on fire, this is not the only reason they are asking you to move or issuing a ticket.
Keeping the fire lane open provides two important functions in addition to providing fast access for emergency vehicles during an emergency.
First, shoplifters will often work in pairs with one individual sitting in a running vehicle in the fire lane. This is especially true during the holidays. By keeping the fire lanes clear, it makes it much more difficult for shoplifters to make a quick getaway, thus, discouraging shoplifting.
Second, if a vehicle is parked in the fire lane, pedestrians leaving the store and walking across a lane of traffic to get to their legally parked vehicles are put in danger. The vehicle parked in the fire lane obstructs the view of other vehicles driving through the parking lot as well as the pedestrian walking out from behind the parked car. A vehicle parked in a fire lane accounts for several pedestrian involved accidents every year in Westfield.
So please, this holiday season skip the fire lane and ensure emergency vehicles have quick access, shoplifters are discouraged, no grandmothers get run over, and you avoid a $50 fine.
Happy Holidays from the Westfield Police Department!