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West Hartford Parking Ban Begins Saturday Evening

Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

A parking ban goes in effect in West Hartford on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, beginning at 5 p.m.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford has made it more than halfway through meteorological winter without a major snowstorm, but the region is bracing for a winter storm that will not only bring snow but also has the potential for significant ice accretion – and will be followed by a blast of arctic air.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the area, and snow is expected to begin falling Saturday evening, with 4-8 inches forecast overnight, and a mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain adding another inch or two of accumulation on Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to plummet to zero or below on Sunday night, and remain in the single digits on Monday, and winds could be gusty creating dangerous windchill conditions.

In advance of this weekend’s expected snowfall, the Department of Public Works has issued a parking ban which will take effect beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, and will remain in effect until further notice. The online overnight parking omit system will be disabled as of 8 a.m. Saturday and will remain disabled until the parking ban is lifted.

On-street parking is prohibited during the duration of the parking ban so that Public Works crews are able to remove snow from curb-to-curb – which is not possible when cars are parked there.

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.

“Please take this parking ban seriously and make safe plans for your vehicle,” Public Works Director John Phillips said.

Phillips said that Public Works employees spent Friday bracing for the first winter storm of the year – and what will be the first snowfall since Nov. 18. “It was a day full of system and operational cross checking of equipment, route assignments, and punch list work securing whatever we can on our streets – like collecting any straggling Christmas trees,” he said.

“We’re ready. We ask that the public be ready, too,” said Phillips. “Stay off the roads. Take advantage of the calm weather on Saturday to complete odds and ends. Plan a Sunday fun day at home.”

The sleet and freezing rain will make the snow even heavier – a challenge for the equipment and a test of the stamina of the plow drivers as well.

Phillips urged residents with health conditions not to try to shovel the snow themselves, and also urged neighbors to help each other out.

“Post storm, the forecast is expected to be brutally cold. That will slow the clean-up and recovery of our transportation system. If people need to drive they should expect unpredictable and rapidly changing driving conditions. Take nothing for granted if you must drive Saturday night through Monday. Make sure your vehicle is winter ready,” said Phillips.

During the parking ban, residents can park in off-street lots, such as schools. Drivers are requested to park next to other cars – rather than leaving parking spaces between them – to assist Public Works in effectively clearing those lots.

Vehicles parked in free lots – such as schools – must be removed by 5 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, so that those lots can be fully cleared of snow. Vehicles that remain will be towed.

Regular fees will be in effect at municipal lots and parking garages.

Snow removal contractors are reminded not to push snow from driveways and private parking lots into the street. “It’s counterproductive to Public Works’ charge snd hurts your neighbors downstream by our trucks pushing extra and unnecessary snow downstream into a neighbors sidewalk driveways and property. Public Works must clear the full width of the street to accommodate all users or our streets post storm,” Phillips said.

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.

Residents are also asked to help out the West Hartford Fire Department and keep the community safe by shoveling the area around fire hydrants.

“Please check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled, to make sure they are okay and offer a helping hand,” Phillips said. “If something doesn’t seem right, please call the West Hartford Police Department  at at 860-523-5203.

Check back regularly with We-Ha.com for updates and storm-related news.

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