OSWEGO, NY – As more snow continued to fall Monday night, the Common Council debated the pros and cons of the city’s current winter parking policy in an attempt to make things easier on residents and also enable the DPW to keep the streets snow-free.
“I’m asking you folks to do one thing, and that’s be a good neighbor. Work with the city. We’re all in this together,” Mayor Tom Gillen said in seeking the public’s patience as the city works toward a better solution. “It’s about being good citizens and that’s what I’m asking people to do.”
“I am not in favor of this current (parking) policy,” First Ward Councilor Fran Enwright said. “So many people are parking in the street now it is causing absolute chaos. The residents are even having a hard time just getting out of their driveway.”
He said he’d like to see parking banned altogether on some of the city’s narrower streets.
“Right now, things just aren’t working and it is a mess down in my ward,” he said.
Third Ward Councilor Mike Todd agreed, “It’s just not working.”
In some areas, especially near Leighton Elementary School, some residences have several vehicles parked so that they are blocking the sidewalk, making it a dangerous situation for youngsters walking to school, he said.
“I don’t know what the solution is. Right now, it’s not working. We need to end alternate parking, at least now, so that we have time to clean these streets up,” he said.
He urged the mayor to issue an emergency order and get all the cars off the streets so the DPW could get things cleaned up.
Currently, the roads aren’t safe to drive on, added Fifth Ward Councilor Bill Barlow.
Most residents in his ward wouldn’t be affected by a total parking ban since they have driveways, he pointed out.
He said he’d favor a full (24-hour) for one side of the street one day and the opposite side the following day.
When the city gets houses, for whatever reason, instead of “rehabbing them and selling them for next to nothing,” Todd suggested razing them and creating small parking lots.
“I do believe that 24-hour alternate parking is the way to go,” Seventh Ward Councilor Ron Kaplewicz said, adding, “We have a duty to provide some (parking) options for folks.”
Currently, people should understand that if their car is parked on the wrong side of the street, it’s going to get towed, he said.
Council President Eric VanBuren said he also agrees with a 24-hour parking ban.
The city will also address the parking issue overall in the city, he noted.
“There are things we need to address when we start this discussion,” he said.
Fourth Ward Councilor Shawn Walker said the 24-hour parking ban would allow the DPW to better be able to keep the streets cleared.
The overnight ban used to be 1 to 6 a.m.
But you can’t clear all the snow in just five hours, “there’s no possible way,” he said.
The council took no action Monday night.
It will continue the discussion in March.