Winter parking rules are in effect in FarmingtonSure, Farmington got some snow Monday, but by Tuesday the streets were clear again. Still, with the city of Farmington’s winter parking restrictions in place, no one can park overnight on the streets citywide until April.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Sure, Farmington got some snow Monday, but by Tuesday the streets were clear again. Still, with the city of Farmington’s winter parking restrictions in place, no one can park overnight on the streets citywide until April.
On the surface, it might not make a lot of sense, especially when there is not a pile of snow to be found. But Farmington police administrative sergeant Jim Constantineau says having the winter restrictions already in effect makes perfect sense.
The parking restrictions start annually on Nov. 1, and continue through April 15. It starts before the snow really starts to fall, which gives residents time to get used to not parking on the streets. That way, when the snow does come and plows need to get through Farmington, the streets will be clear of vehicles.
“It’s a conditioning thing,” Constantineau said. “It’s so that when there are flakes on the ground people have gotten used to it. If we could trust that everyone would know when it snows they can’t park on the street, we wouldn’t have to do it.”
The truth is, a number of residents do still park on the streets during the parking restrictions, and they do, in many instances, get ticketed for doing so. From Nov. 1, 2011 to April 15, 2012, the Farmington Police Department issued 199 citations to people who were parked on the streets.
There are times, if no snow is in the forecast, when police will waive the restrictions – namely, around the holidays. At those times, police would rather see people who have been to holiday parties park on the streets than pull them over for drunk driving.
“We’re pretty understanding and lenient around Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas night, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s night. There are times we would rather be safe and stay at someone’s house,” Constantineau said.
In the early years of the parking restrictions, officers did ticket and tow every vehicle that was found on the streets. That’s been scaled back, Constantineau said. Officers still issue tickets, but the vehicles are generally not towed unless there is a snow event and the vehicle in question happens to be on the street when plows are coming through. There are also instances when officers issue tickets to the same individual several times when that person’s vehicle is towed.
The winter parking restrictions are not a money-maker for the police department. The police department only receives a small percentage of the $37 fine, after court costs to process the citations. That money goes right into the police department’s general fund budget.
“It’s not a revenue generator. It’s not why we issues citations,” he said. “The main goal is so that when it does snow, plow drivers can clear the streets more effectively.”