HARLINGEN — Claudia Piña dodged cars as she sprinted across five lanes of Morgan Boulevard yesterday afternoon.
She had parked her car in a new parking lot at Morgan and Chaparral Street because she couldn’t find an open space at the ACT parking lot about two blocks away — on the other side of Morgan.
“I didn’t want to get caught in the rain but this is the last option we have,” Piña, an ACT employee, said yesterday at she stood in the small parking lot made for the call center’s workers.
Then she pointed at cars parked along each side of Morgan.
“The parking’s really bad,” she said.
For more than 15 years, ACT’s parking lot has spilled over at the intersection of Morgan and 77 Sunshine Strip.
So, many employees are forced to park their cars along both sides of Morgan.
Now, city officials are working with Redelco Commercial Real Estate Leasing to find a way to clear the sides of the street of these parked cars.
“We’re trying to address the safety concerns,” City Manager Dan Serna said yesterday.
In the last 12 months, he said, the area has been the scene of six traffic accidents.
Serna said cars parked along the street block part of the view along Morgan.
“It’s hard to see oncoming traffic,” Serna said. “We’ve had concerns voiced by nearby establishments.”
Some cars park next to St. Paul Lutheran Church, located next to the call center.
“We’ve seen accidents,” said the Rev. Nathan Wendorf, the church’s pastor. “We’re very concerned. Our biggest concern is when people pull out of the (church) parking lot — because it’s so hard to see. I don’t want anyone to get hit.”
Just down the street, Lonnie Schneider said some of her customers complain about the cars parked along the sides of the street.
“They park right up to my entrance, as far as they can get without blocking it,” said Schneider, owner of Lonnie’s Down Home restaurant.
The cars also block part of her view of the busy street.
“Cars go through here real fast,” Schneider said. “Somebody’s going to get hit.”
At Redelco, Louis Martin said he is working with the city to solve the problem.
“ACT is where the situation lies,” Martin said of the call center with more than 800 employees. “It’s a situation we’ve been confronted with.”
Serna said options include using other parking lots.
“The Redelco folks are trying to address the parking need in the area,” Serna said.
Serna said ACT employees can park on part of the Cinemark Movie’s 10 parking lot at 629 N. 13 St., a few blocks away from the call center.
Recently, Redelco built the parking lot at Morgan and Chaparral for ACT workers, Serna said.
“We don’t have it totally resolved,” Martin said. “We are working rather diligently.”