Unplowed streets? Belleville ordinance would require moving cars when it snows 4 or more inches

News-DemocratFebruary 14, 2014 

Snow falling on East Main Street in Belleville in a 2012 file photo.

ZIA NIZAMI/BND

— Residents citywide might soon have to find off-street parking whenever it snows 4 inches or more to make way for snow plows.

City leaders are discussing making changes after some residential streets were not plowed for days in January after the Belleville area got 14.3 inches of snow.

Employees could not maneuver plows through some roads where cars were parked on both sides of the street, according to Chuck Schaeffer, the city's public works director.

The issue will likely be on the agenda of the next Ordinance and Legal Review Committee meeting March 11.

Ward 5 Alderman Joe Hayden said he is not asking the city to ticket or tow vehicles left on the road. Changing the ordinance would protect the city from complaints, Hayden said.

"If cars aren't removed, that's why streets aren't plowed," Hayden said.

Other aldermen, however, say the proposed change is too difficult to enforce and question proposing an ordinance without penalty.

"If the ordinance is without teeth, then we don't need an ordinance," Ward 4 Alderman Jim Davidson said of Hayden's proposal.

Davidson said he would rather have the city send out reminders not to park on the street where roads are narrow.

Or, for residents who do not have driveways or easy access to off-street parking, Davidson said he prefers they alternate parking on one side of the street or the other when it snows 4 inches or more.

That might be the answer for residents along Indiana and Pennsylvania avenues who did not see city snow plows until four days after the Jan. 5 snowstorm.

After the storm, residents on those two residential streets asked to be added to the city's snow routes list, thinking it would be the answer to getting their roads plowed sooner.

City code states that no vehicles can park on designated snow routes if there is 2 inches or more of snow or ice accumulation until the road is clear. The fine is $50 and the vehicle can be towed.

Aldermen and staff on the Traffic Committee that met Tuesday agreed that residential streets should not be designated snow routes, which are major arteries and have higher priority so emergency personnel can get around.

After the January storm, the committee suggested adding the following roads as snow routes:

*17th Street from West Main Street to Belleville Crossing.

* Belleville Crossing from 17th Street to Belleville West Parkway.

* Belleville West Parkway from Frank Scott Parkway to Belleville Crossing.

*Frank Scott Parkway from Illinois 161 to North Belt West.

*North 37th Street from West Main Street to North Belt West.

*Royal Heights Road from North Belt West to Illinois 161.

City Engineer Tim Gregowicz said city staff took into consideration the average daily traffic on the roads.

More than 15,000 vehicles travel on Frank Scott Parkway per day, and 17th and 37th streets each get between 5,000 and 15,000 vehicles a day, Gregowicz said.

Residential streets, such as Indiana and Pennsylvania, get fewer than 5,000 vehicles per day.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 618-239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDJLee.

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