City, police want cars off streets in Charlottetown

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 4, 2015

This was the scene on Wednesday on Prince Street before the City of Charlottetown put a parking ban into effect. In an attempt to clear the streets of snow, the city put the ban into effect for 48 hours. There are no cars parked along this stretch of Prince Street today.

©Guardian photo by Dave Stewart

The co-owner of a downtown Charlottetown business says police should be ticketing and towing cars.

Bill Watters of Northern Watters Knitwear said business owners, pedestrians and motorists are getting frustrated at how difficult it is getting to get around the city.

POLICE CHIEF, PUBLIC WORKS CHAIRMAN EXPLAIN PARKING BAN HERE

Late Wednesday morning, the City of Charlottetown announced a parking ban in the downtown for 48 hours in order to begin removing snow.

Anyone parking on streets risks getting a ticket and being towed.

The focus on Wednesday was on the narrower streets, such as sections from Kirkwood Drive to Water Street and Edward Street to West Street.

Many people were parking parallel to the snow banks on city streets on Wednesday and there were a few vehicles that were impeding traffic and pedestrians.

“People think they can park in the middle of the roads and leave their vehicles, that’s the problem,’’ Watters said. “The city should have tow trucks around here and they should be pulling these people. The city can’t do their work.’’

Many streets, already tight with snow in the parking metered spaces, were reduced to one lane because vehicles were parked on either side of the street.

Sue Smith, co-owner of The Comic Shop on Queen Street, said she agrees with the parking ban.

“I don’t see how it can be a bad thing right now because if people are parked there they can’t clean it,’’ Smith said. “There is nowhere to park anyway. If you come downtown and try to park you’re just going to be obstructing traffic.’’

Smith said she wasn’t worried that the parking ban would hurt business.

“I’ve been busy all day. My customers can walk,’’ she laughed. “Mind you, I don’t want it to stay like this. I would prefer for it to be cleaned.’’

The parking ban was drawing lots of comments on Twitter Wednesday.

“Decided to work from home for this exact reason,’’ said @jmweb.

“I have sympathy for people who struggled to find parking today, but the situation won’t improve if removal crews cannot work,’’ said @jmlane.

Another man said the city should concentrate on removing snow at night.

“Clearing snow should happen from 9 p.m.-6 a.m. with cars off the streets,’’ said @PEI_Plumber. “Daytime clearing is foolish, IMO.’’

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

Charlottetown’s chief of police says a parking ban was necessary to deal with all that snow.

Paul Smith said the city got double what was forecast earlier this week, 65 centimetres, and that has made the downtown area an absolute mess.

The police department and the city’s public works department initiated an immediate parking ban in the downtown on Wednesday that was scheduled to be in effect for two days.

The restriction applies to all parking on all city streets, but the focus will be on narrower streets such as the sections from Kirkwood Drive to Water Street and Edward Street to West Street. Things may change with the latest storm in the forecast for Thursday into Friday.

The city’s news release said anyone parking in the downtown risks getting a ticket and being towed.

Smith said they’re not going to start hauling cars off the streets.

“We’re putting in strict effect the measures that the bylaw has in place for snow removal and getting things going,’’ the chief of police said. “We’re going to make every effort to locate (a vehicle owner) when we’re going down a particular street.’’

The plan is to have someone go out, write down licence plate numbers and try to contact people.

“Where we can get the cars moved we will certainly make the effort to get them moved. Where we’re stuck and have to tow then we’ll have to tow them.’’

Terry Bernard, chairman of the city’s public works committee, said there’s too much snow to wait until day workers go home for the day.

“With other pending storms on the way it’s not safe the way it is right now,’’ Bernard said. “It’s tough for sidewalk machines to even get through it. Are we out to ticket and tow everybody? No. But, will there be instances where we have to? Yes, there will.’’

Dawn Alan, executive director of Downtown Charlottetown Inc., said extraordinary actions are required in extraordinary circumstances.

“We are encouraging everyone who can to carpool and bus into work, when possible,’’ Alan said. “Patience is going to be the key to get through this.’’