Thursday, February 3, 2011

Funny snow business in Kingston


I contacted Kingston Alderman Hayes Clement, via e-mail, to comment on an issue reported on SeeClickFix, in which a West Chestnut resident allegedly got ticketed after momentarily moving her car to clean up her driveway. As of this writing, this issue has been viewed 379 times, commented 65 times and voted on 29 times.

I asked Clement if he thought this, if true, was a fair administration of the Snow Emergency policy:
If the facts and narrative that Julie Ballou presents are accurate, then, no, I don't think this was a reasonable or just application of the policy.  The street had been plowed, the car was not impeding a plow and the car's owners were plainly visible and could have been advised to move the car immediately. No one likes to get a ticket and issuing them is no fun either, I'm sure, but it has to be done with some sense of fairness and reasonableness.
If you feel you were issued a parking citation unfairly, contact your alderman for advice or fight it in City Court. I think you're going to be seeing lots more of that, with $100 citations in this economic climate.
This issue has also been gathered 19 comments on this post, which has the city Snow Emergency regulations.

From all the comments and issues raised, here's what you need to know:

* A snow emergency is declared when there is 3 inches or more of snow accumulation.

* You can't park on the streets when there is a Snow Emergency declared in Kingston.
But, you rightly ask, how am I going to find out if there is a Snow Emergency in the city, you crazy person?
It works like this: You can visit the city of Kingston's website. However, as I found out today, the information there might be outdated. (Click on image at right for larger picture)

So I called the city to inquire about how can citizens find out if there is a snow emergency or if it has been lifted. Your best bet is to call the Department of Public Works at (845) 338-2114.

The city has also updated its website now.

The Snow Emergency, by the way, was lifted at 8 p.m. last night, and I wish I had known this because I parked on the municipal parking lot three blocks from my place. Which brings me to the next point.

* During a snow emergency, you can park on free municipal parking lots. And you cannot park on the streets even if the roads are plowed.

If you risk it, you might get your car towed ($135 even if it's two blocks from the towing place) and ticketed (another $100). This, I hate to say, has been confirmed by experience.

* Funny business:

A. You can park on the street between midnight and 8 a.m., but only if there was no snow accumulation over 3 inches before midnight.

B. After the snow emergency has been lifted, DPW has a 24-hour window to clean the streets. But you still can't park within that time frame if your road hasn't been plowed.