Evanston’s Parking Committee wants to raise the fine for people who don’t move their cars to make way for snow plows during snow emergencies.
The committee this week voted to recommend to the City Council that the fines for violation of alternate side snow emergency parking rules be increased from $25 to $35.
Streets and Sanitation Director Suzette Eggleston said the higher amount is what Skokie now charges and noted that the fine for parking on a through street during a snow emergency is already $50.
Eggleston says many streets are so narrow that the snow plows can’t safely negotiate them when drivers don’t move their cars.
And, she said, if streets aren’t plowed the city is likely to get hit with liability claims if someone falls and is injured.
Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, said the increase “seems to be justifiable. It’s a significant problem.”
Aldermen Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said people who don’t follow the rules force the city to pay extra to send plows back out for repeat trips.
Eggleston said the city now has global positioning system units on its plows, so she gets a complete record of where the plows have been.
She said that in the past the city had taken chances sending plows down narrow streets and ended up with property damage claims over cars damaged by the plows.
So last year, “I said if we cna’t get down the street, don’t plow it, and we had no incidents of property damage,” she said.
She said that in problem areas the city has put brochures on every car to alert residents to the rules and that it sends vehicles with loudspeakers out to warn people the plows are coming before any tickets are issued
In some areas the city uses a tow-and-replace technique, moving cars out of the way of the plows and then returning them to the same street. That costs violators a $100 fine.
As for towing away offending vehicles, she said the city doesn’t have a tow yard big enough handle all the cars illegally parked.
Rick Voss, the city’s parking division manager, said that before the Sam’s Club site was developed the city would tow cars there. “But the costs were astronomical with police costs to provide security and the number of tow trucks required,” Voss said.
“It was also a customer service nightmare,” Voss said, “with the police having to handle cash and credit card payment of fines at police headquarters before drivers could get a release slip to recover their cars from the impound site.”