Overnight Street Parking Allowed in Winter - For Now
When the plows aren't running, your car doesn't have to move.
Parking in Andover just became a little bit easier after the town decided to try out a pilot program that restricts street parking only when necessary.
The program, presented to selectmen by Police Chief Brian Pattullo late last month, will essentially lift the previously enacted winter-long street parking ban from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. Instead, from Dec. 1 to April 1, motorists will only have to move their cars off the street when the Police Department declares a Snow Emergency Parking Ban.
The previous overnight ban stated that, from Dec. 1 to April 1, motorists could not park motor vehicles on the street between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Chief Pattullo told selectmen the current ban is cumbesome for residents and that the new pilot program will make parking much more convenient.
"We're trying to be a little more accommodating," said Pattullo.
He said that the previous ban was created when the parking need was different.
"The bylaw was actually written during a time when most homes had one vehicle. That is the exception now, not the norm," said Pattullo.
Along with the help of the safety officer and the highway department, Pattullo said he has created the pilot program to make parking arrangements easier for residents.
Under the new rule, residents can park their cars on the street throughout the winter. They only have to move their cars when the police declare a snow emergency, which Pattullo said would typically occur with an inch or more of snowfall.
"I can tell you I won't wake up at three in the morning and declare an emergency so we can go out and ticket," said Pattullo.
In order to enact the new ban, selectmen first agreed to suspend the winter parking ban section of the town's bylaws and instead use Pattullo's pilot program. Pattullo will be updating the board after the first few storms to report on how the new program is working.
Pattullo said there are potential pitfalls. If the town receives a heavy winter, snow banks on the roadside may become more prevelant and will create a hazard for street-side parking during times when an emergency has not been declared. He said cars parked on both sides of the road in the same place may create a very narrow passageway for traffic.
Police are asking resident to use common sense and move their cars off the street whenever the area seems to be receiving significant snowfall.
"We ask residents to police themselves," said Pattullo.
If the pilot program seems to be working out, the new bylaw could be proposed at an upcoming Town Meeting and made permanent if the voters choose so.