Home News and Features City News City Begins Ticketing for Winter Parking Violations

City Begins Ticketing for Winter Parking Violations

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Cars were parked on both sides of Winter Street on an even day, Dec. 2, 2:56 p.m. The cars on the left side of the street are illegally parked. It doesn’t matter whether it’s snowing or not, the alternate-side rule applies. Photo by J. Gregory Gerdel

If you are not up-to-speed with Montpelier’s  new Alternate Day Parking Plan, note that a month into the program, the grace period is over. Public Works Operations Manager Zach Blodgett cautioned: “ . . . this past week we started with nighttime violations and daytime warnings.” Beginning Monday, December 13, daytime violations also will be ticketed.

Blodgett also stressed that the new parking regulations apply every day, not just when there is the threat of a storm.

Sorting out the new Alternate Day Parking Plan has been confusing for residents accustomed to the parking ban alerts used during the past two winters in residential neighborhoods. If you are uncertain about the parking regulations in your neighborhood — or any area of the city you are likely to visit this winter, including daytime, Public Works Operations Manager Zach Blodgett strongly suggests looking at the map posted on the city’s website:  www.montpelier-vt.org/

The key difference is that with the new Alternate Day scheme, No Parking on the ‘street-side of the day’ applies all day, midnight to 5 p.m. Previously, the on-street parking ban ended at 7 a.m. and helter-skelter parking resumed immediately, making streets already choked by growing snowbanks almost impassable — and the snowbanks inaccessible to the Public Works crews charged with removing them.

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Signs call for alternate side parking. Photo by J. Gregory Gerdel

Blodgett explained in an email, “The rationale behind the Odd/Even parking format is that on many streets, like those in the Meadow neighborhood, when vehicles are organized on one side of the street, Public Works is able to clean all the way to the curb line within a typical workday.”

In short, cars are to be parked from midnight through the business day on the side of the street with odd or even house numbers corresponding to odd or even calendar dates. Enforcement, meaning ticketing with a fine, has been delayed while the city has continued issuing warnings during the daylight hours. For now, a part-time Public Works employee has been touring the streets identified for frequent parking violations and sticking a warning ticket in the vehicle’s door.

“The old system of calling winter parking bans as needed generally worked well for the public, but stretched Public Works thin, resulting in significant overtime (a financial cost to the city) and posed difficulty in delivering the level of service expected by the residents — as evidenced by the high number of calls requesting that DPW return to clear a particular area,” Blodgett explained.

After the alternate parking signs went up, residents noted some of the new signs contradicted the parking restrictions still visible on adjacent year-round signs. This week, those signs were covered by Public Works, making it clear that only the Alternate Day signage applies on that street.

Given the 5 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. transition time for moving vehicles, cars may be parked on both sides of the streets during the evening.

Blodgett did note some exceptions. “In those places where parking is only allowed on one side of the street, owners will need to move their vehicles to another location in the city. Those areas are identified on the map provided on the city’s website.” For instance, the website map shows that only odd day parking is allowed on Elm Street from State Street to Spring Street — meaning that on even days people who habitually park on that section of Elm Street will have to find another place to park.

Court Street, between Gov. Davis Avenue and Elm Street, is even day parking only. Since workers at many state and business offices continue to work remotely, this street may see less pressure than in past winters, especially when the Legislature has been in session.

In the downtown area and along some streets related to the schools, parking continues to be prohibited between 1 a.m. and 6:59 a.m.

According to the city’s parking map, the metered lots behind City Hall and the Main Street storefronts have alternate overnight parking scheduled by days of the week, not odd and even calendar dates.