Snow patrol: on-street parking prohibited during winter weather
It’s just that time of year: the holidays are over and everyone will probably have to take at least one turn with a snow shovel or snow blower before winter ends.
Salt Lake County Public Works officials and snow removal crews want residents to do their part to help keep the roads clear this season by keeping all vehicles parked off the street and in driveways, or designated parking lots.
Salt Lake County Snow Removal Manager Larry Helquist said every winter crews have a hard time during the early months of snowstorms while residents get back into the swing of the season.
“It is our number one issue. We want 100 percent compliance to save money and speed up snow removal,” he said.
By Salt Lake County ordinance, it is illegal to leave a car parked on the street November through March. Right now, the Unified Police Department is enforcing the regulation with reminders and citations to help ensure that public works snow removal crews can clear the roads.
Helquist said the ordinance is only enforced to make sure that snow removal crews can do their job during major storms. He said a single parked car can block off a neighborhood and make it impassable for a large snowplow because the trucks can be hard to maneuver during snowy conditions.
“It’s almost impossible to plow the road [with vehicles in the way],” he said.
Most residential streets are only about 25 feet wide, which doesn’t leave a lot of space for the trucks to get through if vehicles are parked curbside.
To help keep the trucks moving, county ordinance prohibits anyone from leaving their vehicle parked along a roadway during snowstorms and overnight at any time during the winter.
During a storm, snowplow drivers must clear the major arterial roadways that connect residents to hospitals, police stations and other services within the first eight hours.
After the major roads are cleared, drivers plow minor arterial streets that serve public schools and clear off safety hazards, such as steep hills.
Crews’ third priority is the collector streets, such as those with additional public transportation hubs. When those roads are cleared, crews can finish by clearing smaller neighborhood roads.
Crews have up to 48 hours to clear smaller residential streets, depending on the conditions.
In the meantime, snowplow drivers have been given orders to avoid taking any chances on getting stuck or accidentally running into parked cars and can choose to not plow a blocked road.
That means that if crews see a car parked along a roadway that might impede the plow, they may leave the cul-de-sac or neighborhood road without having cleared it.
“We’re encouraging our drivers to be as safe as they can,” Helquist said.
In addition, all residents are being reminded to keep their sidewalks cleared. Snow removal is an important courtesy to neighbors and necessary for children walking to school.
Snow should be piled in yards and not placed in the road.