The snow's nearly upon us and the city of North Adams is warning motorists that the winter parking ban is in effect.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — City officials are getting out the word that the overnight parking ban will be enforced this winter.
The parking ban goes into effect on Thursday, Nov. 15. According to city ordinance, motorists must park off the streets between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. The ban technically runs from Nov. 1 to April 30, but officials have been giving warnings that enforcement begins Nov. 15 for residents who may be unaware of the rules.
"What happens is we get a lot of people parking on the sidewalks," said Mayor Richard Alcombright on Tuesday. That is also a violation of the ordinance.
He noted there are few smaller streets, such as Arnold Place, where parking is an issue. Police will be somewhat more lenient in those cases during the night, but the sidewalks will have to be cleared by morning.
"We will allow them to park their cars as far from the road as possible," he said. "But they really need to remove them by 7 a.m. just to free up the sidewalks for schoolchildren."
Police Director Michael Cozzaglio said the city's main roads must be clear of parked vehicles during the overnight ban and during those times when a snow emergency is declared. Those roadways include Main, West Main, East Main, Ashland, Church, River, Franklin and Houghton streets and Massachusetts Avenue. All state highways — including Union Street, State Street, State Road and Beaver Street — also must be kept clear.
"These arteries run through the city," said Cozzaglio. "We have to keep them open."
The Police Department will be placing reminders on windshields of cars that are not in compliance, he said, and vehicle will be ticketed and towed as necessary.
The mayor said the city will also be cracking down on unshoveled sidewalks, which are the responsibility in most cases of business and property owners along them, in light of the increasing numbers of pedestrians.
"We're very much committed as much as we can to keeping one side of the sidewalks [on major streets] open at all times," said the mayor. "At least as passable as possible."
Between the college, Housing Authority and the city, the sidewalk along the north side of Ashland will be a priority; also at least one sidewalk from the college to Main along Church Street; Eagle to Franklin; Houghton Street, and West Main to the Sacco Bridge. The city purchased a machine for clearing sidewalks in the downtown but the mayor noted that residents, including tenants, are responsible for snow removal.
Fines for failing to remove snow are $25 for residents and $50 for businesses. "This is to remind people that is their obligation to keep the sidewalks clear," said the mayor.
Both Cozzaglio and the mayor encouraged residents to make sure they are signed up for the city's CodeRED alert system. Cozzaglio said an "all call" reaches about 6,300 phone numbers right now. That figure reflects any Verizon number in the system as well as registered cell phone numbers that may duplicate landline contacts.
"I think that we could certainly pick up a couple thousand more," he said, if residents who do not have Verizon-serviced landlines continue to register for alerts. CodeRED can also send alerts through texts, emails and phone apps.
The city's used the service a few times since instituting it a couple months ago, but the mayor said not everyone may have gotten the alerts because they have been targeted to specific areas for specific warnings, such as potential evacuations during Superstorm Sandy.
However, he said, "if you didn't get the call and you feel you should have, log onto the registration page and put your info in there."
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