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November 13, 2012

Danvers selectmen ponder scuttling winter parking ban

DANVERS — Last January, amid a relatively balmy winter, Maple Street resident Carla King questioned the need for a blanket parking ban on town streets on days when there was not a snowball’s chance in Hades that snow would fall.

Nine months later, and with the usual Dec. 1 start of the on-street winter parking ban looming, King and several other residents asked selectmen on Thursday for an update on whether the town will scrap the winter parking ban in favor of a system that bans on-street parking only when a snow emergency is declared.

Selectmen voted to continue the discussion until a future meeting to gather more information.

Parking on the street during the winter parking ban, which normally runs from Dec. 1 to April 1, can result in a $15 fine. Residents can get ticketed even on warm winter days, and that can lead to hard feelings when residents show up at the parking clerk’s office to explain things. Town Manager Wayne Marquis said the town is looking into how much discretion officers have to enforce the ban during mild weather, but nothing has been determined so far.

“We had a good discussion (Thursday) night, and we are going to go back to do some more homework,” said Marquis, who said the town is looking at the cost and other details of putting in place a snow emergency parking ban.

King, like others who live downtown or in condominium complexes with limited parking, barely has enough space on her property for her and her tenants’ vehicles, and they are constantly juggling them around a narrow driveway.

Town officials say the winter parking ban helps keep streets clear when it snows. Marquis also said some cities that have emergency-only parking bans can tow up to 100 cars in a winter; Danvers has towed just five cars in the past five years.

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