As the snow fell overnight, a dozen city workers were out in the storm, ticketing cars, ordering tow trucks, and working to establish a new standard for snowstorm parking.
The standard: Don’t park on the odd side of the street.
It’s a rule that the city has put in place during recent storms, with varying degrees of enforcement. To set the rule firmly into the New Haven psyche, the city needs to be consistent and enforce the practice, said Rick Fontana, the city’s deputy director of emergency operations.
Fontana (pictured) made that statement at the end of a post-storm staff meeting in the Emergency Operations Center Wednesday. City officials conferred about Winter Storm Janus, which dumped 7 inches of snow in town Tuesday night.
Odd-side parking is forbidden during residential parking bans not only because it makes it easier to plow the streets, but because the city’s fire hydrants are all on the odd side of the street. Even-side parking allows plow trucks to clear the way for fire department access to the hydrants.
Mike Mohler, deputy transportation director, said he was out from 11:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. with nine traffic officers and a supervisor. Together they issued 225 tickets, Mohler said. Of those, 65 were issued downtown. The rest, 160, were handed out on posted snow routes and in neighborhoods where people had violated the ban on parking on the odd side of the street.
Mohler said his department also towed about 75 cars overnight, mostly from downtown. He said the department received no complaints about the enforcement.
Fontana said plowing was more effective with the odd-side parking ban. The ban will likely always cause some amount of confusion, he said. The city just needs to “keep pushing” the message: Park on the even side and “this is the way it’s always going to be.”
“As we go on, we will see some behavioral changes,” Fontana said.
The city fielded 124 calls to 911 and 235 non-emergency calls overnight, which is below the average call volume. Several callers were confused about the odd-side parking ban, said a 911 supervisor. One caller reportedly complained that Willow Street doesn’t have even numbers.
Thank you. We’ve been lucky so far with dry powder snowstorms this year (driest I can remember). Cooperation will really matter when we get a wet blizzard. That’s when illegally parked cars get logjammed by plows.
FWIW, I’m not sure how the new admin may have instructed DPW to distribute plowing assets but I noticed something. in the last two storms. The frequency of plows seemed to be much lower, but the plowing seemed to be more effective. That could be because of the dry powder snow or it might be possible that the infrequency allowed street parkers more time to get their cars out of the way….not sure but DPW should be aware of this observation and maybe ask around.
I’m glad that there’s enforcement of the parking ban, and that cars are being towed. It was always mysterious to me why enforcement wasn’t more vigilant. My question; does the cost of the ticketing and the towing revenue essentially pay for the service of enforcement? If not, why not? It seems that it would be a sustainable policy to enforce, and as a result the streets would be much easier to clear during storms. I’d appreciate anyone with that insight to chime in.
posted by: HewNaven on January 23, 2014 1:03pm
Y’know, for all this talk about inclusivity by the Harp administration, I’m a little disappointed with the new snow ban policy. I mean, turning one side of the street against the other? Neighbor against neighbor? What’s wrong with odd numbers? Why are they being unfairly targeted? Why do the ‘evens’ get a free pass in this town?
END THE DISCRIMINATION! ALL INTEGERS EQUAL*
*Except 2s. Nobody likes them.
posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on January 23, 2014 2:25pm
Hey, this actually MAKES SENSE.
Keep it up, folks.
And how about doing something to enforce sidewalk clearing by property owners?
posted by: Atticus Shrugged on January 23, 2014 2:50pm
Okay, so does the Mayor get any of the praise for finally forcing the department to enforce ticketing and towing? She gets blamed for everything else…. The directive had to be approved by her and her office. I’m just throwing it out there. Maybe it’ll stick. And not just amongst those who post comments. :-)
posted by: Shaggybob on January 23, 2014 4:58pm
I must say its about time and kudos to Mayor Harp for initiating the new T & P appointed leader to enforce this ban. I love the “Don’t be the odd man out” easy to remember. Tickets at least best will eventually get people to heed the warnings, just like street sweeping. It still perplexes me that a town of this size in New England still hasn’t figured out how to educate the general public to prepare for our streets to be plowied. At least this time were off to a good start -lets hope it stays consistent. I observed the same thing robn -less plows, but more efficient- My street was plowed before 9am !!
Now if we can only get the Housing Authority to stop blowing snow back into the street after the city plows. Especially on Webster Street.
Yes, tow on narrow streets like some in Lower Westville or the Hill, by all means. But on wide secondary streets that are not arteries and not snow streets, is it really necessary? But I must say, the snow removal this time was great. They plowed early enough so that when my neighbors started shoveling out around 9 a.m., the roads had been plowed from curb to curb, so there was no dumping of snow on newly shoveled sidewalks and driveways. Congrats.
posted by: cedarhillresident! on January 23, 2014 6:40pm
I agree with everyone it was one of the best clean ups we had. Kudos all that made it happen.
And HewNaven ha!
posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on January 23, 2014 7:49pm
I must say I am pretty happy with our new mayor so far, and I was braced for the worse as an Elicker supporter. This is one policy that Mr Smuts should have enforced years ago. Keep up the good work Mrs Mayor.
posted by: Hill Resident on January 24, 2014 12:21am
This is an excellent policy ... if enforced uniformly throughout the city. Truman Street and its intersecting streets are always full of violators everyday as well as snow days. Cars are never ticketed and never towed. Getting a ticket usually makes a person adhere to ALL street signs. And the proceeds from these tickets should be turned around and used for Traffic and Parking improvements or initiatives (likes signs, painting, crossing aids). Keep it up.