The first declared snow emergency of the winter in Spokane brings with it a new weapon in the city’s ability to enforce its winter storm parking rules: $30 parking tickets.
Officials confirmed this week that the city will continue to follow a snowplow plan developed in the aftermath of big storms in 2008 and implemented in the winter of 2009-’10.
The city’s response plan outlines two kinds of snow emergencies and accompanying street-parking restrictions.
City officials opted not to issue tickets or tow vehicles that violated the restrictions the first two winters, except in Browne’s Addition, which has long had parking restrictions for plowing. This winter the city plans to introduce tickets. Next winter, it may introduce towing.
“We will ticket if needed,” said Mark Serbousek, director of the city’s street department.
But officials said Thursday that they are likely to give violators a break for this storm.
“Unless we run into real problems, we’re not looking to write tickets this snowfall,” said Gerry Gemmill, interim public works and utilities director. “We’re looking to move snow.”Serbousek, in coordination with the utilities director and Mayor David Condon, declared a stage 2 snow emergency Thursday evening.
Cars on arterial and bus routes had to be moved by 6:30 p.m.; cars parked on residential hill routes were required to be moved to the side of the street with odd-numbered addresses by 12:30 a.m. this morning; and all cars parked on all residential streets must be moved to the odd side of the street by 6 a.m. this morning.
Street officials say the hodgepodge of parked cars in residential neighborhoods slows them down and occasionally prevents them from clearing narrow streets. They also say that if cars are parked on only one side of the street, they can clear a much wider path.
With the stage 2 declaration, the city will call in contract graders and drivers to clear all residential streets tomorrow morning.
With the additional workers, the city will double the number of vehicles devoted to snow and ice clearance from 30 to 60.
“We’ll be fully loaded, and we will be ready to plow out the city,” Gemmill said.