City Seeks To Un-Confuse Public About Towing

Allan Appel PhotoAs of 1:15 p.m. Monday, you may now park on the even side of the street everywhere in New Haven. Including 39 or so neighborhood streets that previously had a full parking ban.

One exception: parking will be banned on a few downtown streets for six hours overnight.

After that, where to park, and where you might get towed, all gets somewhat complicated, as the city continues to try to dig out from recent snowstorms.

The simplest solution seems to be: Park for the week at a school lot instead of on the street. Period.

In any case, don’t park on the odd side of any residential street through 3 p.m. Sunday. Please?

Though you’ll get the OK to return to the odd side of 39 or so special streets targeted for snow-removal operations, once payloaders come through.

And everywhere else, you’ll get towed only on trash pick-up days. Which have been moved back a day for the Monday presidential-birthday holiday; and which may get pushed back again depending on how big a snowfall comes on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, you can sign up for emergency communications from the city about what’s happening on your street, here.

The confusion stemmed from the ongoing effort to keep up with consecutive snow storms (with another snowfall expect to hit the city overnight); and to try to catch up with problems caused by the city’s failure to enforce an odd-side parking ban on neighborhood streets, leaving numerous roads unpassable and unplowable.

Emergency operations chief Rick Fontana appealed for public patience Monday afternoon. “We are working hard. There’s a lot of snow. It’s not just New Haven,” Fontana said. “We’ll get it done.”

As announcements (and towing and sign-posting actions) seemed to contradict each other over the past 24 hours, readers have asked the Independent to try to figure out exactly what the city wants them to do.

We spent a while with numerous traffic, public-works, and police officials early Monday afternoon seeking consistent answers. They went back and double-checked some facts among themselves. Here’s the best we can now report:

• At 1 p.m. city traffic chief Doug Hausladen lifted the ban on even-side parking for 39 or so narrow streets where the city is undergoing a special operation: Not just plowing, but removing huge mounds of ice and snow that have left many of them unpassable. The city will still ticket and tow cars parked on the odd side of those 39 or so streets on days when teams of truck-drivers will come for the removal operations, which began Monday. On Sunday a ban had been announced for both sides; but then city crews posted signs on only the odd signs of the first batch of streets to be cleared.

• The identity of those 39 or so streets is somewhat fluid. The city released a list of what it said were 39 narrow streets late last week; the list had 37 streets on it. Hausladen said Monday that Pleasant Street has since been added to this list, for a Friday or Saturday snow-removal option. (Click here for a previous story continuing the full day-by-day list for 37 of the 39 or so streets.) The list was based on narrow streets where snow crews had particular trouble a year ago, according to public works chief Doug Arndt. It is being constantly updated; for instance, the city swung into action on Pardee Place, a narrow one-way road behind the CVS in upper Westville, Monday morning when the fire department reported that trucks couldn’t get through. The city was following up on a complaint from a neighbor, according to Rick Fontana. “Once we found it was a public-safety issue, that was the first street we went to” this morning, he said. Hausladen and other officials arrived on scene to ask people to move their cars, getting help from Alder Angela Russell, automatic emergency phone calls, and ticketing and towing crews. They all eventually got the street cleared.

Russell Monday afternoon asked why it took so long to declare Pardee Place part of the emergency route—and then towing began so quickly. She said the small street had problems with plowing and access in past years, she said. And this year neighbors have been towed several times in recent weeks without advance notice. The city didn’t post any notices Monday morning. “I found out at 7:45 this morning” about the sudden plan to tow, and “15 minutes later they’re ticketing and towing,” Russell said.

• Crews will post notices 24 hours in advance of arriving on any of those 39 or so narrow streets to conduct the removal operation, so you’ll know that tow trucks are coming. “We have to get those streets open and safe,” said Fontana.

• A citywide ban on odd-side parking on all residential streets remains in effect through Sunday afternoon. That’s designed to clear the way for plows to clear wider paths of travel by tackling the mounds of ice and snow packed along lanes they couldn’t get to last week because of the lack of enforcement of the parking ban. So technically, you’re violating the ban if at any time this week you have a car parked on the odd side of the street. However, only on trash pick-up day will the ticketers and tow-trucks come in. “My resources allow me to ticket and tow on one-fifth of the city five days in a row,” Hausladen said. However he asked people to honor the ban for the whole week so crews can return to mop up or address new problems.

• Then, of course, there’s the coming snowfall. Parts of the state are expected to receive anywhere from 1 to 8 inches. New Haven may be spared the heavier fall, but if not, all the plans are likely to be modified again.

• From midnight until 6 a.m. Tuesday, the city will tag and tow cars parked along Chapel Street between State and Orange as well as around Gateway Community College, according to Hausladen. Signs will go up in advance to alert parkers.

Meanwhile, Arndt of public works reported that the city is two plow-trucks down from last year, when it had 16 on the road to cover 22 routes. That’s because the trucks got old and were no longer safe to put out on the road. He said his staff made those decisions; they were unrelated to ongoing inspections at the public works department by the state motor vehicle department, which have focused on the condition of city-owned buses.

The city has contended for years with an old, declining fleet of plows. Arndt said he has submitted a $3.8 million capital request for the upcoming fiscal year that includes money for eight to 10 new trucks.

Reminder: Sign up for the latest city alerts. That’s the safest. Click here to do that.

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry


posted by: cp06 on February 17, 2014  3:34pm

“Reminder: Sign up for the latest city alerts. That’s the safest. Click here to do that.”

The city has not been sending out alerts!

posted by: cedarhillresident! on February 17, 2014  3:41pm

I am signed up to and have not received any.

So what you are saying is even though my street is not up for plowing until Friday (my holiday trash pick up day).....I can not park on the odd side of the street all week??? Ok for a moment I thought they had it; I was wrong. So you are telling me that we have to hike a half mile plus to park??? In a school lot because you have taken away half of our parking???which was already cut in half by the snow piles because we do not have a lot in our area we can go! That is messed up. So no cars will park on the odd side despite no plows will be making it here for 5 days! ok back to ...half ass backwards.

posted by: HewNaven on February 17, 2014  4:12pm

How many residents of Maltby Place read the Independent? That’s pretty much the only way they would have found out about the parking ban.

posted by: HewNaven on February 17, 2014  4:16pm

And, yes, cp06 is correct. There were no alerts regarding the additional parking ban because the EOC only operates DURING storms. Like I said, the only reliable source of information (as usual) has been the Independent. The city really can’t enforce a parking ban if they haven’t made much of an effort to inform residents. I hope they realize that much.

posted by: Hill Resident on February 17, 2014  4:49pm

Luckily and thankfully King Place (my street) has been placed on the ‘curb-to-curb’ snow removal list. And I do appreciate it. But my street is only one block long, is one way, and has parking only on one side. It starts at Washington Avenue and turns onto Truman Street, which is 5 blocks long, is one way but has parking on TWO sides. And because of the snow and ice buildup from previous shoveling/plowing that travel lane has gotten increasingly narrower. So if Truman Street is not cleared when King Place is cleared, there will be NO WHERE TO GO once you get onto King Place. Emergency vehicles will find it impossible to turn from King Place onto Truman, and will also find it impossible to turn onto Truman from the top at West or any of the other intersecting streets Clover or Barclay. so TRUMAN STREET (where a car was already IMPALED by a snow plow!!!!) needs to be added to this list or at least cleared on Wednesday/Thursday when King Place is scheduled for curb-to-curb plowing.

posted by: Esbey on February 17, 2014  4:49pm

Cedarhill, I think what the article is saying is that you are supposed to avoiding parking on the odd side all week, but (on the other hand) the city says that they will only ticket and tow you from the odd side on your trash pickup day.  So, if you park on the odd side before your Trash Day on Friday, then supposedly nothing bad will happen to you.

The city is doing a terrible job of communication on this.  The folks reading the Independent at least know to be on the lookout for some kind of enforcement, what about the rest of the city?

posted by: robn on February 17, 2014  5:44pm

The good news is…you don’t live in Honshu

posted by: cedarhillresident! on February 17, 2014  5:51pm


I saw that. But they can still technically come and ticket and tow because they made it a point to reiterate that you can not park on the odd side city wide all week. I of course can not tell my neighbors that they do not have to hike to Wilbur Cross…which is a long distance because if some yahoo decides they can ticket, my neighbors will be livid. I am sure we will be fine over here if people are thoughtfull in there parking I have to check and see if folks will be towed if they park along rice field.

posted by: state st on February 17, 2014  5:57pm


posted by: robn on February 17, 2014  6:02pm

I get the fact that we’ve got a problem with truculent, lazy or inattentive auto owners who won’t move their cars but I still not getting the city’s implication that there’s a logistical problem of plow coverage.

If New Haven has 225 miles of road and we’ve got 14 trucks; that’s 16 miles per truck. So if they’re driving 16 miles per hour (a reasonable guess), they should be able to make one pass over every street every hour. Or pairs of plows (one after the other in a diagonal formation to plow to the curb) covering everything in two hours. Is it not that simple? What am I missing?

posted by: dw on February 17, 2014  6:56pm

I am glad I am not the only one confused.
This one size fits all is a farce.On my street (Lawrence) the snow is mostly on the even side.Wouldn’t it make sense to assess streets and then post emergency no parking signs day before towing/ticketing.

And PLEASE Yale students/faculty don’t park all day on the residential streets so that residents without driveways can park.Especially now….East Rock streets really aren’t your parking lots where you can leave your cars while your pick up the shuttle,always.(rant over)

posted by: HewNaven on February 17, 2014  7:56pm

OK. I stand corrected.  Just now received a message from EOC about the parking ban.

posted by: fk on February 20, 2014  10:12am


The pictures I’ve seen of Honshu look great!  They did a fabulous job of snow removal.  They cleaned it right down to the pavement!

posted by: fk on February 20, 2014  10:23am

The EOC messages are a great idea but they are missing one critical point.  When communicating with the public (and with most people for that matter) you need to be clear and concise.  The messages I got were about two minutes long and extremely confusing.  If you are fortunate enough to have recorded the message you could play it over and over to figure it out but if you pick up the phone your screwed!  The message should say something like “Don’t park on the odd side of the streeet until Sunday or you will be towed PERIOD”  The parking ban should have been enforced from the beginning.  Cars could have been removed before they were frozen into solid blocks of ice and the snow could have been plowed. They are not affaid to tow cars on sweeping days which are not critical to safety.  Why were they affraid to tow now?  They wouldn’t have need payloaders or any special equipment if the cars had been removed and the snow plowed when it should have been plowed.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on February 20, 2014  12:03pm

Today was the day I can tell if the message got out to people in my area….trash cans out to the curve says that did not get the message. Even we tried to inform people personally.