Published in the November 16, 2015 edition.
WAKEFIELD — The fall Town Meeting will be asked to reinstitute an overnight parking ban during the winter months which the selectmen voted to eliminate earlier this year.
Charles L. McCauley Jr. of Lawrence Street has authored and submitted the request to amend the town’s bylaws in such a way — in McCauley’s opinion, a better way — so you will still get fined if you park on the street for over one hour in the wintertime.
Town Meeting begins at 7:30 tonight in the Veterans Memorial Auditorium of the Galvin Middle School.
Article 10 on this fall’s Town Meeting warrant actually has two parts to it. The first is to eliminate section 211-25 from the town bylaws. This section refers to the ages-old year-round nighttime parking ban on Wakefield streets that was only really enforced from Dec. 1 to April 1. That winter enforcement is what the selectmen decided to eliminate earlier this year.
“I’ve lived here for 75 years,” said the 75-year-old McCauley, “and I don’t ever remember the year-round parking ban being enforced. Somewhere around 40 years ago the selectmen decided to enforce it in the winter.” McCauley explained he felt the winter parking ban would be better suited for section 175-8 of the town bylaws, which concerns the responsibilities of owners, tenants and merchants downtown during the wintertime.
“I think the section where merchants and other have the responsibility of removing snow and ice from downtown sidewalks is a more appropriate section in which to house the winter parking ban,” he said.
Despite the objection of DPW Director Richard Stinson, the selectmen decided earlier this year to get rid of the winter nighttime parking ban because of the complaints they had received. Also, the selectmen felt there are many more options available now to alert people to the fact that parking on town streets will not be allowed during a snow storm or snow removal operation.
“I live on Lawrence Street,” McCauley said, “and last winter there was so much snow that there was no room for two-way traffic. If there was parking allowed on my street last winter, the plows wouldn’t have been able to get down the street.”
McCauley continued, “The selectmen used as a rationale (for eliminating the wintertime overnight parking ban) that reverse 911 (and Facebook, the town’s website and other avenues) would be used to tell people to get their cars off the street. I won’t be very happy if my car is already in my driveway and I get a call at 2 in the morning to put it there. Not everyone is tied into the reverse 911 system, anyway. It’s not an all-encompassing way of alerting people to get their cars off the street as a storm approaches.”
McCauley wants Town Meeting to include the following in section 175-8 of the town bylaws:
“During the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., commencing December 1 and ending the following April 1, no vehicle shall be allowed to park on any public way for more than one hour of continuous time. Any such vehicle found to be in violation of this section shall be ticketed and shall be assessed a fine of $25 for the first violation and $50 for each subsequent violation occurring within the same fiscal year and if obstructing snow plowing towed at the expense of the owner. At least one week in advance of the onset of the parking ban period there shall be announcements; in the local newspaper, a reverse 911 call, and posting on the town’s website. In addition, employers and owners of business and rental property have an obligation to ensure that employees and renters/tenants are aware of this bylaw. This parking ban is to be enforced by the Police Department.”