November 15, 2010

'Tis the Season for Winter Parking Bans

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Drivers beware: Winter parking bans are now in effect in several local towns, whether or not there’s any snow on the ground.
In Derry, the winter parking ban begins
 today, prohibiting all parking on town streets and municipal parking lots from midnight to 6 a.m. Derry’s ban remains in effect until April 1.
“People should know about the ban, but it always seems like it comes as a surprise to someone,” said Derry Highway Operations Superintendent
 Alan Cote.
During dry weather, Derry Police Capt. Vern Thomas said, drivers will be issued a $10 ticket if found to be in violation of the ban. During a winter storm, however, he said police will tow the vehicle at the owner’s expense.
“I suspect that some people may not know (the rules), but it’s their responsibility to know if their vehicle is in the middle of a plowing operation, so it gets ticketed and towed,” Thomas
 said. “The idea is that if people aren’t getting the message, they usually get the message by a ticket.”
Thomas said officers issue several parking ban tickets every night during the winter season.
A similar ban also begins today in Salem, where drivers are prohibited from parking on any street between midnight and 6 a.m. until April 15. During a declared “snow emergency” with at least three inches of snow, all
 on-street parking is banned.
“It’s a very short period of time to ask people to stay off the roads,” said Salem Public Works Director Rick Russell. “Salem police have been really
 great at making sure that people aren’t parking out there.”
And Salem police are stepping up their winter parking ban awareness campaign this season with graduated
 penalties, according to Salem Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten. 
Until Nov. 22, officers will place informational flyers on vehicles found in violation of the ban, Patten said, and warnings will be issued from Nov. 22 to Dec. 1. But officers will begin ticketing vehicles that violate the ban as usual starting on Dec. 1, he said. 
Last year, Russell said Salem saw five major plowings, with just two or three vehicles towed from on-street parking in that time. 
During a winter emergency, Russell said his plow and salt truck drivers will notify police when they come across a car parked on the street, with the license plate number and description of the vehicle. 
Police then try to contact the driver to move the vehicle, he said, but if that proves impossible, the vehicle is towed. 
“If they can’t get a hold of them to move the car, they’ll tow it,” Russell said. “They don’t hesitate” Londonderry’s winter parking ban has been in place since the beginning of the month, barring all on-street parking on public roads from midnight to 8 a.m. The ban continues until April 1. 
In Windham, a parking ban goes into effect on Dec. 1, prohibiting parking between midnight and 6 a.m. until April 1. Further, vehicles are not allowed to park on any public streets when there is more than four inches of new snow on the ground. 

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