BRISTOL - It was a tale of two cities as two snowstorms dumped almost 20 inches of snow on the region from Thursday through Sunday.
More than 600 parking tickets were issued in New Britain while parking bans were in effect, according to police. It was a different story in Bristol however, where officials said they didn’t issue a single parking ticket, or tow any vehicles in violation of the ban.
It was reported last week that the New Britain Police Department began their parking ban enforcement at midnight Thursday and were joined by a traffic detail at 3 a.m. to help get people to move their cars.
By Friday afternoon, New Britain police had issued 468 parking ban violation tickets and towed 28 cars, according to the police department.
Another parking ban was issued at 9 a.m. Sunday for a different snowstorm. This parking ban was lifted Monday morning.
By the time the second ban was lifted, 153 tickets for parking violations were issued and 12 cars were towed.
“Unfortunately we issued hundreds of tickets over these last two storms due to noncompliance, it is important for residents to remember to check your local news outlets before storms,” New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said on Monday.
Bristol also issued a ban for both storms. A parking ban in Bristol was issued before Thursday’s storm and was lifted Friday morning. Sunday’s parking ban took effect at 11 a.m. and ended later that night.
According to Lt. Todd Kozaryn from Bristol Police Department, no parking ban citations were handed out and no cars were towed.
“It’s certainly being enforced, we just don’t need to enforce it,” said Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne. “Bristol residents get it. They know when snow is expected to remove their vehicles from the street to allow for plowing.”
Cockayne said that Bristol’s normal winter parking ban may contribute to residents following subsequent bans. The city’s normal winter parking ban, which prohibits vehicles from parking on the street between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., remains in effect until March 15. Any parking violation will rack up a $20 ticket - which can be appealed at the police department within five days after it is issued.
Bristol residents are also required to remove snow from their property’s sidewalks 24 hours after snowfall stops. Cockayne said this ordinance is complaint driven, so if the BPD hears about a violation, they will go to the property in an attempt to get the owner, tenant or building custodian to clear the sidewalk.
If the sidewalk is still not cleared after these efforts, the city may hire someone to clear the sidewalks and the property owner will be billed.
In New Britain, owners of vehicles parked on city streets while bans are in effect are subject to a $100 ticket with the vehicle being towed at the owner’s expense, according to the New Britain City Ordinance.
Before cars are towed, police do their best to notify people whose cars are in violation of the ban, officials said.
“Our goal is not to tow,” said NBPD Capt. Chris Chute. “We don’t want to tow, we’d rather knock on doors and have owners move their vehicles before it becomes problematic.”
In addition to moving their vehicles if a parking ban is issued, residents in New Britain are required to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of their properties. A city ordinance requires the owner, tenant or custodian responsible for the property maintenance to remove ice or snow accumulated on the sidewalk within six hours of daylight following the storm. The penalty for violation of the ordinance is $50 for each day the snow or ice is not removed.
While not mandatory, fire departments in both cities encourage residents to dig out fire hydrants on their streets when possible to allow for faster access to water in the event of a fire.
Residents in both communities went to the Facebook pages of the New Britain Herald and Bristol Press to express their opinions on road conditions and the various parking bans.
“Just bring some tow companies in and MOVE THE CARS. I wish asking nicely would work but some people DONT get it,” Stanley Doski posted on The Herald’s page.
Another person on The Herald’s page shared Doski’s sentiment.
“They should be towed and ticketed then maybe they will learn,” Nikki Marie posted.
“I drive thru 4 towns on the way to work. Every town was no better off than Bristol roads. Bristol does just as good of a job as any other town. Thank you BPW. Some people do appreciate you guys being out clearing the roads,” Jason Mislivets posted on The Press’ page.
Above all else, violating a parking ban can be a safety issue. Both Stewart and Cockayne emphasized the importance of keeping roads clear for emergency vehicles and plows.
“Our parking bans are put in place to ensure that residents are safe and so that our Public Works crews can efficiently clear our streets and bring life back to normal as soon as possible. When someone fails to heed our ban, they are potentially putting someone else’s life at risk. While a parking ban may be an inconvenience, it is for the wellbeing of everyone,” Stewart said.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You make the call
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