Winter Parking Wars

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Winter Parking Wars

It can be hard for the people who live in moderate climates to understand how snow changes the parking scene. I’ve lived in snowy places in the past, and I’m happy as can be now living in a place that doesn’t get that cold.

The whole idea of saving parking in front of your house is unfamiliar, though, because I my experience in the Rockies was short-lived. There was never so much snow that I couldn’t find parking, and winter lasted only a forgivable four months.

I read about people saving their spots with garden furniture and I think ‘how desperate must they be?’

There’s a humorous synopsis of the “save your spot” culture in Philadelphia at phillymag.com that helps someone like me understand the phenomenon better. It might be a good read for the parking authorities dealing with way winter weather turns parking into war. The author defines “savies,” “movesies,” and local perspectives on other winter parking practices.

Say what you will about this city and its inequalities, but at least one thing has been made clear: We are all circling this godforsaken block together.

Very true. Read the article here.

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. An all time high of 13 feet of snow for us last winter in Northern Michigan. Residents around the central business district face odd/even parking rules; must be sure they are on the odd side of the street on odd days and even on the other. Problem is on some streets there is no parking allowed on one side of the street year round. In addition, when there is snow ever day it can take weeks to completely clear the streets. When this happens the snow gets further out from the curbs and passageways become almost so narrow that traffic has to deal with one driving lane and street parkers risk having their mirrors dislocated from their vehicles. One solution for these residential parkers is to get a permit to park in one of the downtown lots which allows overnight parking in some rows- that rotate on a monthly or so basis (DPW doesn’t give any notice- parkers must watch the signs!). This can fill the long term parking areas for business district residents, employees and shoppers/clients. Compounding the problem is that snow is “temporarily” piled in parking spaces in the lots, thereby eliminating 10 to 15% of the parking spaces. Another issue in the downtown area is curb access to sidewalks for drivers. Snow gets piled so high they have to walk along the street to find access to the sidewalks. Merchants tend to pile snow at the meters when clearing the walk in front of their business. We lost four dozen or so meter enforcement days last winter when meters could not be reached by our customers. Some meters completely disappeared under the snow. The best we could do was to mark cars and enforce the parking time limits. Obviously this had an impact on revenue. In addition, among other things our office uses parking funds to pay for sidewalk clearing and salting. That budget was busted last year as costs were 400% more than any previous year.

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