Amateur Parker: Let it Stop Snowing


Amateur Parker: Let it Stop Snowing

I tell my two daughters to exercise caution anytime the weather changes. When it just starts to rain is when the roads are the slipperiest. Thunder, lightning, hail are all signs telling them to go inside immediately. If it’s snowing, give the snowplows time to do their work, and so on. A parent’s work is never done.


Whatever danger is lurking outside, it’s safe to say that in the story of parking, weather is one of the main antagonists. Broken equipment, cracking concrete, and parkers who can’t use the hardware – or software – are all pretty significant challenges. But weather can do things to a parking lot or parking structure that are exponentially more destructive than a grumpy customer or a malfunctioning arm gate.


Hopefully, we are past the worst of the winter weather this year. Here’s a roundup of a few drastic moments from the past few months


In Bangor, Maine, high tides, a major storm surge and giant waves made the coast extremely dangerous. The state’s emergency management administration warned residents to stay away from beaches. It also suggested those who live on the coast be prepared with an exit a plan, several different ways to contact loved ones and receive emergency alerts, and make themselves familiar with evacuation routes. 


On top of all of that, Bangorians were strongly urged to be aware of parking bans. They were warned that flooding from the Penobscot River required a widespread parking ban for the downtown area. It almost sounds like the second most dangerous thing you could do during this particular storm, besides being unprepared, was to park. I don’t know who’s out shopping in that kind of weather, but I hear Mainers are super hardy.


It isn’t always just the weather in winter making parking little risky – there’s also the danger of unexpected aircraft arrivals. A parking lot in Treasure Island, Florida was forced to play landing pad for a helicopter when heavy fog made it too dangerous to fly. Treasure Island’s Police Department responded to Old South Plaza on 10th Avenue to make sure everyone was safe. The chopper was functioning normally and headed for the airport when its pilot decided he could not make it safely back to an airport due to poor visibility. 


Powerful winds and massive waves deposited sand, logs, and debris all over the Western Beach parking lot of Deception Pass State Park in Deception Pass, Washington. A visitor to the park said half the parking lot was gone – the extreme weather had torn up the lot’s asphalt and dragged it into the ocean piece by piece


This winter’s onslaught dragged out the lawmakers, too. In Ogden, Utah, recent weather prompted new legislation “to prohibit on-street parking when it is snowing or when snow removal is apparent or imminent, or when there is an accumulation of snow or ice of one inch or more.” The Ogden City Council voted 5-1 to adopt the new ordinance after receiving calls and emails from residents complaining their streets weren’t plowed. Further investigation showed there were too many cars on the streets for snowplows to make a dent in the drifts. Emergency parking bans were also enacted in Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, and Massachusetts, to name a few.


Local police are looking for a driver who was doing donuts in the parking lot of Steamboat Springs High School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The driver of a blue Nissan Armanda was spinning his vehicle in circles in the school’s snowy parking lot when he or she lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the school. Despite near white-out conditions, surveillance video shows the SUV was damaged on the driver’s front-side corner but still drivable. Steamboat School District Superintendent Celine Wicks confirmed that none of the high school’s students have a registered parking pass for a blue Nissan Armanda. Police report they have leads, but are still searching for the donut-maker.


Finally, no winter season would be complete without a baby born in a parking lot somewhere. A quick labor in a heavy storm required the new parents to pull over at a McDonald’s in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Dad caught baby boy, who was reportedly named Michael Daniel, so his parents could call him Mickey D. Mom said they were also jokingly calling the newborn “McFlurry.” Police and paramedics arrived at the scene quickly, but not in time to save the little boy from an unfortunate nickname.


Stay safe out there, everyone.

Article contributed by:
Melissa Bean Sterzick, Parking Today Contributor
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