OSWEGO, NY – During a flurry of discussion at this week’s Physical Services Committee, councilors debated the merits of alternate street parking.
The proposal is in response to the on-going discussion regarding the dearth of parking in the Port City, especially during the winter months, explained Council President Ron Kaplewicz.
“We are looking for some creative options for providing additional parking in some of our residential neighborhoods,” he said. “We are proposing, I consider it a fairly bold change, but certainly not one that isn’t used in other cities.”
The plan would supercede the current winter parking ban.
The recommendation from the parking committee deals with alternate street parking, the councilor explained.
The proposal is, beginning Dec. 1 (at the discretion of the mayor and if weather conditions warrant) alternate side of the street parking restriction is imposed.
You can park any vehicle on any (city) street or highway from 1 to 6 a.m. on even numbered side on even calendar days and the odd numbered side of the street on odd calendar days, Kaplewicz said.
“So each day you’d alternate what side of the road you park on,” he said. “This will open up a great deal of parking in some of our crowded residential neighborhoods. This creates a whole new challenge for our DPW.”
“Once this is imposed, it’s the kind of thing where you have to play hard ball,” he continued. “You have to have a zero tolerance policy because if we can only plow one side of the street one day we need to be able to plow the other side of the street the next day. If your car is left there, you forget to move it, you will be ticketed and towed.”
“It’s worth a shot. I think we should look into it; other cities have done it very successfully,” Mayor Tom Gillen pointed out.
The downtown district will be excluded from the proposal, which shall be implemented solely in the residential neighborhoods.
“If it’s not right, we’ll take another look at it. Over the course of the winter we’re going to have to listen very carefully to what our (DPW) commissioner has to say and the residents and how we can make this thing work most effectively,” Kaplewicz said. “It opens up lots of spaces in our city for residential parking.”
“Are we going to do this through the whole city or spot?” asked Councilor Shawn Walker.
The whole city, Kaplewicz replied.
A city resident also asked what impact the proposal would have on “snow emergency routes.”
“If in fact a snow emergency is declared, then all bets are off,” the council president said. “Then the mayor, at his discretion, can order all cars off the streets and that would be publicized in the (media). They have to be off the streets so we can get the streets cleared. The alternate street parking would be suspended so that we could get cars off the streets.”
Councilor Fran Enwright said he supports the plan.
He has been working to improve parking in his ward.
“The pride in the neighborhood is coming back. People are excited about the way it is looking; it is looking so much better, not having cars parked up over sidewalks, kids are able to walk to school without having to walk out in the road,” he said.
Winter presents a new set of parking issues, he continued. The proposal would address those issues, he said.
“I don’t think we want to take a step backwards,” he said. There are some streets that are one side only parking, Enwright pointed out, adding that will have to be addressed somehow in the plan.
“As a whole this alternate street parking is going to add some relief to the neighborhood. It’s going to look good and it’s really going to help bring that pride back and bring the city back in the right direction. So, I commend everybody who worked on this,” he said.
The resolution will be forwarded to the full council to consider and set a public hearing regarding the change
Councilors said they’d like to have the proposal in place by Dec. 1, the date historically that the current winter parking ban begins. The ban runs through March 31, unless otherwise ordered by the mayor.