KINGSTON – Snow storms in Kingston guarantee a citywide parking SNAFU. Frustrated residents, confused by recent alternate side parking regulations, get slapped with $100 tickets every time it snows, as DPW crews plow the streets attempting to clear the wintery mess.
Kingston aldermen debated whether to allow the city’s Department of Public Works to take over and administer rules governing alternate side parking during snow emergencies, at the Common Council meeting Tuesday night.
The meeting had been delayed from the previous week due to an icy snowstorm.
Aldermen Matthew Dunn (1st Ward) and Nina Dawson (4th Ward) disagreed, but were outvoted by the remaining council members, who hope the measure will end the disconnect between motorists, DPW crews, the city council, and the mayor’s office, during inclement weather events.
“One of the important things the council does is offer a check and balance,” Dunn argued. “When a department head has been allowed to impose or decide alternate side parking, in one place or another, without any standards, is concerning.”
Previous policies cleared all city streets during snow, leaving residents, especially seniors, without driveways at a disadvantage.
“Phase One worked well,” said Alderwoman Mary Ann Mills (8th Ward), referring to the previous winter when the new plan was tested in certain high-density midtown neighborhoods. “Nothing works 100 percent, but it was close.”
Phase Two will roll the policy out to the entire city, and works in conjunction with the new SWIFT telephone announcement system, which still has bugs, Mills admitted.
Currently the mayor announces a snow emergency when three inches have accumulated, but the new plan will allow DPW Commissioner Michael Schupp to declare whenever the National Weather Service confirms a winter storm advisory.
Alderman Brian Seche (2nd Ward) said his uptown Stockade residents complain of not having alternate side parking.
“While I agree with Alderman Dunn that we cannot just give away absolute power to the heads of the departments, in these cases we can’t also over-micromanage; we need to let them do their jobs,” Seche said.