Department of Public Works
As we now begin our third winter of utilizing a winter event based ordinance to prohibit overnight parking on the streets, we continue to have difficulty reaching a large number of people when a winter maintenance notification has been issued. We’re uncertain whether the vehicle owners did not receive the notification, chose to disregard it, or for some other reason did not relocate their vehicles. Consequently, the number of vehicles remaining on the street during the ban is unmanageable, exceeding the capacity of our contracted towing company. During our first event of the 2016-17 season, 57 vehicles were issued overnight parking ban tickets. This number is nearly double the towing capacity of our contracted towing service company and when the capacity of the towing company is exceeded, PublicWorks crews must attempt to work around parked vehicles risking property damage and impacting effective maintenance measures.
When the number of parked vehicles found on the street during the parking ban exceed stowing capacity, a prioritization system will need to be employed based on the physical characteristics of the street such as width and other constraints. A prioritization system could be perceived as being unfair and presents a hardship for event management.Therefore, it is not sustainable.
The City would prefer not to issue tickets or tow any vehicle and we realize removal of vehicles is both costly for the owners and an inconvenience. We have employed several notification methods to reach people, yet we still receive complaints about lack of notice.In the interest of reducing the number of vehicles that have to be towed, a consistent and predictable towing plan was implemented last winter which calls for the removal of all vehicles parked in violation regardless of whether the prediction for snow fall turns out to be accurate or not; when the winter ban is announced, vehicles will be towed.
New for this year will be the use of electronic message sign boards (2) as a furtherance of our concerted efforts to notify the public about a parking ban. One sign board will be stationed for the season at the Main Street / Memorial Drive / Northfield Street / Berlin Street intersection (Junction of Routes 2 and 12). The position of the 2nd sign has not yet been determined but will be announced when known. We may also use the 2nd sign in various locations to announce when parking is prohibited for snow bank removal operations, etc.
To help ensure the success and continuation of an event based winter parking ban and to avoid costly towing expenses, we ask that folks help with notifications to neighbors, friends,and visitors - even those people you don’t know. Make them aware they need to find out if parking on the street is permitted for that night and to sign up for VT Alerts. The Montpelier City Council and City staff want to make this program a success and avoid returning to a seasonal parking prohibition, but the community must also do its part. The winter season has just begun, so please, spread the word.
As a reminder, notices of Winter Parking bans are posted on:
~ The City’s website – look for the flashing black “NOTICE” bar at the top of eachpage of the website;
~ The City and Police Department’s Facebook page;
~ Front Porch Forum;
~ A recorded message at 262-6200;
~ Via phone calls, emails, or text messages from VT Alerts. To receive these messages directly to your device, go to www.vtalert.gov to sign up. Step by step directions on how to sign-up are available here: http://www.montpeliervt.org/807/Winter-Parking-Ban;
~ Look for the new message board sign near the Main Street bridge