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December 07. 2013 8:13PM

Oddities of winter parking rules

Folks in Syracuse, N.Y., must move their parked cars every day from one side of the street to the other year-round, while residents in Concord face no odd-even parking restrictions at all.

Manchester motorists must swap spots every day between Dec. 1 and April 15, whether or not snowbanks line city streets. Aldermen recently killed an attempt to eliminate the daily change in favor of banning parking on the same side for the entire winter stretch to reduce confusion.

Parking restrictions vary across the country and even within the state, according to a survey conducted by the New Hampshire Sunday News.

Syracuse, which averages about 115 inches of snow a year, calls on residents to move their cars even in the summer months.

From 6 p.m. on an odd-numbered day to 6 p.m. on an even-numbered day, cars must park on the odd-house-numbered side of the street. And the reverse holds true on even-numbered days.

"For example, on June 16th, cars should begin the day parked on the odd side of the street," states the city's website. "At 6 p.m. that evening, cars should move to the even marked side of the street."Michaela Oney of Syracuse, who works in the Syracuse Parking Violations Bureau, said police issue tickets every month.

"That's a constant year-round thing because it's confusing," Oney said. "It's confusing. They don't understand when it starts and how to determine which side despite the signs."

The website said plows can reach clogged roads during the winter, and street-cleaning crews can work with less difficulty during the other months.

In Concord, Dave Florence, parking supervisor with the police department, said people have become accustomed to not parking on city streets overnight because until three years ago, the city limited parking to between 2 and 6 a.m. on certain streets.

Today, cars are allowed to park up to 48 hours at any one time on city streets.

But, he said, "we don't have a huge number of people who are still on the street."

Concord, like many cities, issues a "winter maintenance parking ban" during snowstorms to clear roads. For the year ending June 2013, police issued 240 tickets at $100 each for violating the parking ban. That was more than double the 103 tickets issued the prior year. Vehicles also faced getting towed.

Portsmouth has no odd-even system either.

"We never really restricted parking when there was no snow emergency," said Mark Nelson, director of parking and transportation in the public works department.

"We have to do more than push it back," he said of snowbanks. "We have to move it because our streets are so small."

In those cases, the city issues a parking ban, which goes into effect whenever it snows at least 2 inches.Manchester Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard told aldermen he backed the current daily odd-even system, which calls for people to park on the even-house-numbered side of streets on even days between 1 and 6 a.m. and the odd side of streets on odd-numbered days.

In an interview, he said the odd-even system "allows us the opportunity to get out and push back (snow from) one side of the street one night and one side of the street the other night."

The proposed change, he said, would have meant one side of streets couldn't be cleared unless there was a snow emergency, which temporarily bans all parking.During the year ending in June, Manchester issued 2,142 tickets for violating the winter parking ban.

In Madison, Wis., alternative-side parking runs from Nov. 15 through March 15, regardless of the weather. People must park on the even-house-numbered side of the street on even-numbered days from 1 to 7 a.m. and on the odd-house-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered days.

Stefanie Niesen, parking enforcement supervisor in the Madison Police Department, said it allows crews to clear ice and snow before it becomes difficult to remove.

"It also gets people into a rhythm of moving their vehicle back and forth," Niesen said.

Motorists who only park on downtown streets aren't required to follow the odd-even system, but must remove their vehicles during snow emergencies, she said.

For each of the past two years, Madison police issued about 26,000 tickets for violating either odd-even parking or a snow emergency, Niesen said.

mcousineau@unionleader.com


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