A parking ban takes effect Thursday evening with snow expected to begin after midnight.
By Ronni Newton
Temperatures reached record highs on Wednesday, but on Thursday afternoon, with the possibility of a significant snowstorm looming, West Hartford Public Works Director John Phillips has issued a parking ban, and preparations for the weather event are well underway.
The parking ban begins at 8 p.m. Thursday, and will remain in effect until further notice.
The Town of West Hartford sent out alerts through its list-serve and Everbridge emergency notification system on Wednesday, even before the parking ban was announced, urging residents to think in advance about where they will park their vehicles during the snow.
Beginning the parking ban at 8 p.m. Thursday gives the enforcement team a chance to ensure that streets will be accessible to plows.
West Hartford’s overnight parking ban was suspended last spring, but was reinstated as of Feb. 1. Many more residents had gotten accustomed to parking on the street overnight, but Phillips said before the last storm, when plenty of warning was given, compliance with the ban was excellent.
Even if the plows can get through, vehicles parked along town streets cause plows to create a berm, which will freeze with the expected cold temperatures in the wake of the storm, leading to the formation of dangerous “icebergs” in the roadways, according to Phillips, who does not want to have to tow cars.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning – not just a “Watch” – for the 24-hour period beginning at 12 a.m. Feb. 25. Between 3 and 5 inches of snow is expected to fall during the initial overnight and Friday morning burst, followed by a changeover to sleet and freezing rain followed by another inch or two of snow on the back end of the storm. Temperatures Friday night are expected to drop to 11 degrees.
West Hartford Public Schools announced early Thursday evening that schools and offices will be closed on Friday due to the forecast of snow.
Parking bans are needed to keep roadways free of vehicles so that Public Works crews are able to plow the snow from curb-to-curb, and cars parked on the road create safety hazards.
Owners who do not heed the parking ban will be fined, and the car may be towed.
During a parking ban, residents can park in off-street lots, including schools as long as they are closed.
Those using surface lots are asked to park next to other cars – rather than leaving parking spaces between them – to assist Public Works in effectively clearing those areas.
Regular fees will be in effect at municipal lots and parking garages.
Motorists may register their plates using one of the kiosks inside a the parking garage or can use either the Flowbird or Passport Parking mobile app.
Cars left parked on the street during a parking ban will be ticketed, and may be towed. West Hartford Police will be assisting Public Works to keep the roads clear of illegally parked vehicles.
Snow removal contractors are reminded not to push snow from driveways and private parking lots into the street.
Per town ordinance, West Hartford property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from the sidewalk along their property line within 12 hours after the storm or by sunrise – whichever is later. Residents are required to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
It’s particularly important to keep heavily-used sidewalks – those near schools, public buildings, and commercial areas – free and clear. Snow clearing violations should be reported to the West Hartford Police Department at 860-523-5203.
The collection of trash and recycling by Paine’s Inc. is expected to remain on schedule.
Residents are also asked to help out the West Hartford Fire Department and keep the community safe by shoveling the area around fire hydrants.
Check back regularly with We-Ha.com for updates and storm-related news.
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