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Parking rules help plows clear snow in congested downtown Madison

MADISON (WKOW) — The city of Madison is hoping you can help streets crews with their ongoing effort to keep the roads clear of snow.

There is still a snow emergency overnight Wednesday into Thursday, after a big snowfall earlier in the week. That means alternate side parking rules are in effect across the entire city.

A snow emergency can be a hassle for neighborhoods on the isthmus.

Peter Deakman has lived off Gorham Street for more than 25 years. He says his neighborhood is usually good about following the rules, but it can be hard to find a spot. He doesn’t have a driveway, so he’s always on the street.

“I try to get there early,” he said, laughing. “Be the first one and not the last one, so that’s my evil plan. I think everyone tries to take up as little space as they can.”

He says he’s only gotten a handful of parking tickets over the years because he keeps on top of it. We found him shoveling the street so he could park his car overnight.

“Well, it’s a huge pain. It’s sorta like neighborly magic though, because somehow the street is full of cars every other day of the week and somehow people manage to get them all on one side.”

Parking enforcement supervisor Stefanie Niesen says the city’s rules help plow drivers get their blades all the way to the curb, to move the piles of snow that build up under cars.

“When that car moves, you have this huge mound of snow in the middle of the street and it tends to make the street narrow,” Niesen told 27 News. “It creates traffic hazards because cars can’t get through, so it is really important for people to abide by the alternate side or try to get their car off the street.”

Compliance is improving as winter wears on.

During the Jan. 23 snow emergency, the city handed out 510 tickets and towed 242 vehicles. On Wednesday morning, 347 tickets were issued and 100 vehicles were towed.

It’s still a lot of work for city staff as southern Wisconsin is hit with back to back big snowfalls.

“It just keeps coming. I keep telling my group it’s like Groundhog Day. Every week we’re just doing this again, we are out ticketing and towing and trying to get the streets clear,” Niesen said.

In a snow emergency, you can park for free overnight in downtown ramps. You can also move your car to the parking lot of any city park.

If you’re parking on the street, you need to park on the even side from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. on even days and on the odd side on odd days.

Click here for more on the city’s winter parking rules and tips to find a place to go with your vehicle.

Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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