07 Feb 2018
- By Bryan Manabat – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
“PUBLIC safety trumps everything else,” Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Commissioner Clyde Norita said in response to the parking concerns of business operators in Garapan affected by the fire-lane regulations that will be implemented on Feb. 26, 2018.
In a meeting with them at Fiesta Resort & Spa on Tuesday afternoon, Norita said his department must comply with the fire-lane law.
One business operator who runs a transport service is concerned that he might be cited just for dropping off and picking up customers at guest houses in Garapan.
For active loading and off-loading, Norita said, “you can stop and use your hazard lights — you cannot be cited for that.”
He added, “While fire lanes may interfere with some people’s parking, it goes back to what I said earlier, safety trumps convenience. We want our fire trucks to be able to move into those roadways and respond effectively to emergencies.”
Norita said about 60 parking slots have been affected by the fire-lane regulations in Garapan.
He said the penalty is $150 per violation while towing will cost $220 for a 11,000-lb. vehicle and $350 for a vehicle over 11,000 lbs.
He said vehicles parked in a fire lane or parked straddling fire lane markings will be towed.
If an operator refuses to sign a citation, he can be arrested, Norita said.
One business operator in Garapan told Variety: “I think there has to be more cooperation. The fire department is taking away parking spaces and blaming [the Department of Public Works] for not building parking areas and [the Department of Public Safety] for not enforcing parking rules. It’s a complete mess. It’s a perfect example of government miscommunication to say the least. So we see tourists almost getting run over. They are getting dropped off in the middle of the street, because there is nowhere to stop. It’s really unfortunate that the fire commissioner does not want to listen to these concerns. We are asking him to please have an open mind and find ways to cooperate with us, but he said no.”
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102075-norita-tells-garapan-businesses-comply-with-fire-lane-rules