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JOURNALISM: Parking Bylaw [Download .doc version]

News Story, Overnight Parking Ban
by Jeffrey Reed, As Published By Postmedia for Strathroy Age Dispatch

Winter doesn't officially begin until December 21, but Strathroy-Caradoc's overnight parking ban, clearing a path for snow removal, is now in effect.

Running from Dec. 1 through March 31, 2019, the parking ban forbids parking of vehicles on municipal streets from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., seven days a week. Streets in Strathroy, Mt. Brydges, Melbourne, Campbellville and Delaware West are included in the ban, enforced by a bylaw which came into effect with amalgamation in 2001.

Residents who park their vehicles on the roads during the ban will face a $15 fine, which increases to $22.50 if not paid within 15 days.

Allowing plow operators to safely and effectively remove snow from streets is the reason for the ban, which the municipality's director of building, planning and waste services, Matthew Stephenson, said is highly communicated to the public. But according to Stephenson, every year there are still many residents who don't comply with the bylaw.

"We've chosen Dec. 1 because we've had years when we've had snow already by that date. But there's always the unknown of the middle of the night when we might get a snowstorm. People will park on the street because we don't have snow, or we aren't calling for snow. But then we end up having our plows trying to manoeuver around them," Stephenson said.

The City of London has implemented a new system which allows its residents to purchase up to 15 special permits to park overnight during winter months. But Stephenson said that system won't be adopted by Strathroy-Caradoc anytime soon.

Stephenson said the municipality understands that many suburban residents may face an issue with the ban because they're part of multi-vehicle families. And he said the municipality will try to assist those families with solutions. But he said the ban still stands.

"Twenty years ago not every family member had a car. But today, in a lot of cases the garage is used for storage instead of vehicular storage. So it's difficult to park four vehicles in one driveway, especially if the home has a sidewalk on that side of the street," Stephenson said.

"It's about pre-planning, finding what options are available. And if they can't find a solution and think they just can't comply, then they can give us a call. We'll try to work with you and help you work through it."

Stephenson said although the plow operators are skilled professionals, they will not take any chances trying to manoeuver around vehicles that are parked on streets overnight.

"We won't try to get within an inch of a car so we can try to do the best plow job. They're going to leave four feet to make sure they don't damage that car, not just with the blade but from plowed snow," he said.

"We simply say, just don't park on the street."

Stephenson also cautioned holiday revelers about the dangers of drinking and driving. He said while the municipality encourages residents to enjoy themselves at downtown eateries and pubs, it also advises them to plan ahead, call a taxi or use a designated driver.



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