SALT LAKE CITY — A new wintertime parking proposal from Salt Lake City leaders has quite a few residents up in arms.
Parking officials from the downtown area and surrounding city suburbs have suggested a ban on street parking during snow storms and when snow is on the street. They hope clearing cars off the roads’ shoulders will, in turn, help snowplows clear snow off the streets.
As the laws stand now, parking is legal overnight on city streets. The city's suggestion would restrict overnight parking from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on nights when it is snowing.
As proposed, the suggestion reads as follows:
“No person shall park a vehicle on any city street when it is snowing or snow is on the street between 1:00 am and 6:00 am from November 1st through March 30th.”
Some residents have voiced concern over the suggestion, saying enforcement of the law would be all but impossible.
An anonymous commenter on the city’s Open City Hall public feedback website said he or she thinks the proposal could lead to parking enforcement corruption.
“Honestly this idea is bad because it opens the door for abuse by enforcement personnel,” the commenter said. “The idea that you can't be parked on the road when its snowing is ridiculous. Imagine this: you park and retire to your cozy abode for the evening and when you wake up you not only have to shovel the new fallen (unpredicted by weather gurus) snow but pay a ticket as well. Bad idea.”
Parking officials said something needs to be done so roads can be cleared efficiently during snowstorms.
Rick Graham is the director of public services for Salt Lake City. He said the proposal is in the embryonic stage and city officials are seeking public input.
"We are trying to allow the city snow removal program to evolve so we can provide," Graham said.
Graham said snow removal around the Salt Lake Valley is challenging due to the unpredictable nature of Wasatch front weather.
"The snow season is a challenge," Graham said "We can get heavy snow or no snow. We have wide roads and some roads that are very narrow."
Graham said the city is trying to find solutions to common wintertime road problems and is looking at options to make the streets better for every one.
"Sometimes plows have to work around vehicles," Graham said. "We are trying to eliminate cases where cars get 'plowed in', or where the plows create such a snow pack around the car it becomes difficult to get dig it out."
Public feedback can be given on the Open City Hall post regarding the parking proposal.