Pittsfield’s New Alternate Side Parking Plan Faces First Test With Snow Emergency
As Pittsfield, Massachusetts prepares for tonight’s storm – which is projected to dump over a foot of snow on the Berkshires – the city is asking residents to abide by its new alternate side parking plan. With a snow emergency declared for 7 p.m. and snow expected by 8, Public Services and Utilities Commissioner Ricardo Morales tells WAMC that there’s more than enough time for Pittsfielders to implement the new parking guidelines before the storm.
MORALES: It starts on the even side of the street today, as it is the 16th, an even day of the month, and then it continues at 7 p.m. tomorrow, switching to the odd side of the street. And you know, we have our staff and contractors ready to respond as soon as we start getting snow, and even before to start pre-treating some of the surfaces.
WAMC: Can you explain why the city thinks alternate side parking is going to help facilitate a response to a snow emergency like tonight?
So alternate side parking provides two things. One is it allows people the chance to park near their houses near their workplaces during snow event, while still providing the second thing, providing an organized way of parking. That way our staff, our crews can snow plow efficiently.
There's been conversation in city council about whether or not people can figure out this new system in time for it to be helpful. Do you feel like at this point the city is prepared to actually implement this and have it facilitate the cleanup tomorrow?
I think we're ready as we will ever be. It's always going to be some, you know, growing pains, and we're going to have to respond to that accordingly. But as we've noticed with other things before, when we implemented something, just going to be a custom, you know, we have to get accustomed to the new rules and get the communication out. We have some information out. It's called "When It Snows In Pittsfield," which speaks to all the different questions people may have with some answers provided by us, by the city. And we're also, you know, starting this- Ideally would have been done much with much more time, but the council wanted to have this started this winter season. So we're ready in the response.
Now, Pittsfield also says that citizens have some responsibilities during a snowstorm. Can you walk me through what property owners need to accomplish on their own response to the heavy snow we're expecting tonight?
Well, there's a few things that are in the city ordinances in relation to snow removal by the residents outside of their properties, and that's essentially maintaining the sidewalk in front of their properties. It, according to the ordinances, they have to be cleared 24 hours, within 24 hours of the snow event. There's some level of enforcement that we do depending on the location, the prominence and usage of that sidewalk and so forth. Another thing we request, this is not an ordinance, but we do ask, and we hope that people and have seen people do this, is clearing snow from around hydrants.
It's been a mild winter to date. With this first test of the system are you looking into the rest of the winter with concern, with confidence? How are you feeling about the coming winter as the snow continues?
Well, my feeling for this winter is one that, you know, we were going to be ready no matter what comes to us. I say that and at the same time I recognize that we do have some, we're still on, there's some level of drought condition in the region. So that gives us some hope that this winter may not bring that much snow compared to other winters.