Blame it on global warming or a hiccup in the atmosphere, but winters like the one we experienced last year are now viewed as more of an aberration than the norm. Thus it may be time for holdouts like Peabody and Danvers to ditch those ordinances that require people to keep their vehicles off the street every night between November and April.
The parking ban may not have been such a big deal decades ago when a fair number of those living in congested areas like downtown Peabody didn't own an automobile. But having to find off-street parking has become a real nuisance in these areas — particularly given the fact that the streets have been free of snow and ice 99 percent of the time this winter.
Public works directors are understandably happy to have those bans in effect when it comes time to call out the plows and sanders. But our winters seem to be turning milder, and modern technology — flashing blue lights at key intersections, automated phone alerts, text messages, streaming notices on local cable access channels — provides lots of options for warning people to get their cars off the street on nights when snow is in the forecast.
Rather than spend their time slapping tickets on cars when there's nary a cloud in the sky, we'd rather see police crack down on those parked illegally (those who create a safety hazard by parking too close to the corner should be a particular target). Meanwhile, cities and towns might want to boost the fines for those who ignore their snow emergency warnings and, in addition to creating a safety hazard, make things difficult for cleanup crews.