PEKIN, IL - Putting parking restrictions on some of the city's most narrow streets so emergency vehicles can get through will be decided after the public weighs in on the subject, the Pekin City Council decided recently, according to

"They're just so narrow you can't get emergency vehicles down there," Pekin Police Chief Tim Gillespie told council members after making several proposals to restrict parking on about 19 city streets.

Gillespie said the city's traffic safety committee has recommended banning parking on one side or the other on many of the selected streets and banning parking altogether on others.

Gillespie said the 600 block of South 11th Street is very narrow and suggested banning parking on its west side and recommended the same for 12th Street.

No parking on the east side of the 1000 block of Mechanic Street was also suggested, along with various others.

Mayor Dave Tebben said he appreciated the work Gillespie and the committee put into the proposals but said the council needs input from the public, particularly those living on the selected streets, before making a decision.

"We need to hear from the neighborhoods," Tebben said. "We need to listen to them, we need to talk to them and make haste slowly."

Gillespie said the main issue is the need for emergency vehicles, such as police cars and fire trucks, and large city vehicles, such as garbage trucks, to get through the streets when they need to. But cars parked along the sides of those narrow streets make it impossible, he said.

However Tebben questioned the number of times those types of vehicles have been impeded because of cars parked on the narrow streets.

"When's the last time you had a vehicle not be able to get down there?" Tebben asked. "Please don't consider my remarks as not being supportive. Keeping it in context is all I'm looking for."

Tebben suggested holding a special meeting within the next four to six weeks, inviting the public to voice opinions about parking restrictions.

Tebben also questioned what would happen if a house on a narrow street was holding a birthday party or other event that would require more parking than a driveway would allow.

"We need to have a significant amount of interaction with the neighborhoods," he said.

Councilman Tom Blanchard agreed.

"I think we need all the input we can get," Blanchard said.

Council members also discussed and voted on improving the wastewater treatment plant.

In a 5-1 vote, with Blanchard voting against, a $320,000 engineering agreement was approved.

The vote approved a design and construction engineering agreement with Peoria-based Farnsworth Group Inc. to conduct ongoing improvements at the plant.