After the first major snowstorm we had earlier this month, I read comments on social media about how people were not parked on the correct side of the street in reference to alternate side parking.

The Creston city code states “For the purpose of facilitating the removal of snow from the streets and making it possible to keep the streets open and free from obstructions, the following limitations and restrictions are imposed from November 15 each year to March 31 of the following year: On the street sides where buildings bear even numbers, that is, on the south and west sides of all streets, parking is prohibited on all odd numbered days from one o’clock (1:00) a.m. to seven o’clock (7:00) a.m. On the street sides where buildings bear odd numbers, that is, on the north and east sides of all streets, parking is prohibited on the even numbered days from one o’clock (1:00) a.m. to seven o’clock (7:00) a.m.”

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OK, I get it: the wording is confusing. Basically, from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. on an even day, park on the even side. In the same time period on the odd day, park on the odd side. If you’re like me and you’re home each day before midnight, just remember on an odd day, park on the even side.

Some people think it’s too convoluted. Maybe it is, but at 16 years old, I was able to successfully do this every day at my home until I left for college two years later. I never parked on the wrong side or got a ticket.

On the post, I saw some comments saying the police weren’t enforcing the policy, and that’s why people were on the wrong side. I saw conflicting comments from people saying they had received tickets when it was 60 degrees.

At last week’s Creston City Council meeting, Mayor Waylon Clayton said he’s interested in reviewing the city’s snow ordinance to see if it can be improved to make it more efficient for residents and city snowplow drivers.

The concern came from residents calling in vehicles parked on the wrong side of the street, sitting there unmoved for days.

Council member Steve Wintermute said he wondered about the purpose of the ordinance on days “when it’s 50, 60 degrees” or when there is no snow to be cleared from streets.

The council discussed Corning’s policy where a snow emergency is issued and publicized by media outlets. Two hours after the issuing, residents would be held responsible for alternate side parking.

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I went to Corning this past weekend for the John J. Harris invite. Of course I drove around for quite awhile looking for a parking space. During this time, I observed a majority of streets are already parking on only one side of the street, whereas we have few streets with that designation.

I think implementing a snow emergency parking policy would be an absolute disaster in Creston. If the police are ticketing cars early in the season, they are providing a reminder that alternate side parking is in affect and will be enforced.

Doing this when it’s nice out without the chance of snow means people can be reminded before it’s actually a necessity to have them on the correct side of the road.

If we were to wait until the day of a storm to enforce alternate side parking, two things would happen. For starters, we would have more people not on the right side of the road. Whether because they don’t remember or because they don’t receive notice of the snow emergency, there would inevitably be more people on the wrong side.

The second piece is the difficulty of enforcing during a storm. If you’ve been keeping up with page three, you know accidents have been way up since we got the snow, and a majority of them happen during what would be the snow emergency window.

If officers are responding to accidents, there is less time for them to be out writing parking tickets. In addition, some of the snow storms saw wind chill down to nearly -60 degrees overnight. Are we really saying we want our police force out driving in white-out conditions and writing parking tickets during that weather?

I also haven’t heard anyone address the most obvious point: the ordinance says it’s to facilitate the removal of snow. But residents can move their car to any side of the street after 7 a.m., legally. Most of our city plowing doesn’t begin until after 7 a.m. anyway, so how is the ordinance helping facilitate snow removal?

Perhaps if snow removal began at a much earlier time, residents would see the need for alternate side parking to be a priority.


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