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Answer Man: Why won’t neighbors move their cars for snow plows?

January 24, 2019 GMT

Oh, Wise One: I just read your answer to trash cans in the street. My question is, Why does Rochester tolerate cars parked on neighborhood streets when the street needs plowing? Usually the same cars in the same places. This makes the street very narrow, limiting traffic to one car at a time.

These cars and the pile around them will be there till the snow melts because they’re very seldom moved. Yes, I have called about the 12-hour rule, no change.

My suggestion, when the plow comes back a second time, it gets towed! — Just Squeezing By

Squeeze: This is a cousin to a question I answered in November.

Plowing around cars has long been a concern in the city, and changing plowing practices has been a discussion in the city for more than two decades. The Public Works Department is in favor of requiring street parking to rotate on a daily basis during winter.

The practice, which has long been common in other cities, would allow plows to hit one side of the street on one day and return to clear the other side the next. With such policies, vehicles can be ticketed or towed if they are found on the wrong side of the street.

However, towing cars on an unplowed area under current policy would likely face a legal challenge. Unless covered by the 12-hour parking limit on residential streets, vehicle owners wouldn’t necessarily know when plows came by for a first pass to know which side of the street to use.

Granted, people as wise as you and me would use common sense to avoid parking in mounds of curbside snow, but such sense isn’t always so common.

Additionally, as noted in my November column, current staffing doesn’t allow plow operators to keep returning to streets to see if cars have moved. With more than 500 miles of roads, nine miles of alleys, 544 cul-de-sacs and 40 miles of sidewalks and bike paths to clear, city staff doesn’t likely have time to make duplicate passes on each street, let alone wait for a car to be towed.

So far, the Rochester City Council has only cleared the way for a pilot program for the alternate side parking policy, which is implemented near The Place, which houses the Boys and Girls Club a few blocks east of Answer Man World Headquarters.

Plans for other pilot programs on narrow residential streets are in the works.

Until then, reaching out to neighbors about your concerns and raising awareness of the 12-hour rule are likely the best steps toward addressing concerns.