Changes to the city’s winter parking regulations are designed to make it easier for residents to get their cars off the roads in times for plows to come through, city staff members said Monday.
The city’s snow emergency has been rebranded as a “winter weather emergency,” which serves just about the same purpose with some tweaks. The city council unanimously approved the new winter weather emergency guidelines at its Monday meeting.
Previously, the city called snow emergencies when 2 or more inches of snowfall was predicted. When an emergency was called, residents were required to move their vehicles off city roads and public parking lots or risk being fined.
The changes eliminate the snowfall stipulation. This allows the city more flexibility to call an emergency for any weather event, including freezing rain, said Kamron Nash, public works operations superintendent.
It also will allow emergency calls to be made sooner, which will give residents more time to move their vehicles, Nash said.
Another change gives residents more parking options during weather emergencies. Parking will now be allowed in any public parking lot, Nash said.
Council member Paul Williams said he hopes opening more lots will encourage people to move their cars off the roads.
Notifications of winter weather emergencies will be made through the same channels as snow emergencies, Nash said: through the city’s email blasts, social media, Nixle alerts and local news media.
Operations Director John Whitcomb said during a presentation to the council that the city’s goal is to have streets plowed within 10 hours after a snow event.
Arterial streets, such as Milton Avenue and Milwaukee Street, get the highest priority, ahead of collector streets. Residential streets see less traffic and are the lowest priority, Whitcomb said.
Residential streets are not typically plowed down to bare pavement as main roads are, Whitcomb said.