PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) — A Twin Cities church says it’s tired of drivers using its parking lot as a detour.
Last fall, the city of Plymouth put in stop lights at Schmidt Lake Road and Nathan Lane. Instead of waiting at the lights, members at the Church of Epiphany say people have been cutting across their parking lot to save time.
“They are accepting of everybody in the community. They advertise that anybody is welcome,” maintenance worker Laurie Sinclair said.
Lately, Sinclair worries that advertisement is being taken too literally. While their doors are open, their parking lot is off limits to anyone not there on official church business.
“I started in September and the parking lot did not look like this in September,” Sinclair said.
That’s when the city took out the stop signs and put in stop lights at a nearby intersection — to make way for more traffic as a result of Abbott’s expansion across the street. Almost immediately, cars, trucks, and SUVs decided they didn’t want to wait- and made their own path across the church parking lot.
Sinclair said mornings are the worst. On some week days between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., they’ve seen as many as 30 vehicles cut through.
“I’ve tried to stop people and they are rude and actually say, ‘Why is it my problem?’ I put a sign up today and one of them knocked it over and drove right by it,” Sinclair said.
The problem for church, Sinclair said, is that the parking lot can’t be resurfaced — there are simply too many potholes now. She said it could cost more than $200,000 to tear it all out and replace it. That’s something a congregation of 270 people, doesn’t have the money for.
“We even have some big vehicles — buses and delivery trucks — that are driving through here,” said Sinclair.
A simple sign asking drivers to respect the property is their only defense. Even in our short time there, the sign was repeatedly ignored.
“People just need to think for a second that something so little to serve yourself, can affect other people. Because it’s really affecting this church and I really feel bad for them,” said Sinclair.
Plymouth police have been trying to help by have squad cars in the parking lot during certain times of the day.