NORTH ADAMS -- The city's overnight parking ban will go into effect Thursday, and city officials are reminding residents that cars will soon be ticketed and possibly towed.
City officers have been placing "warnings" on cars found parked on city streets between the hours of 1 and 6 a.m. for the last week, but the practice will soon stop.
"The police department will do its best to issue warnings for the next week or two, unless we have a storm," Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said Tuesday. "We want to remind people that even with this in effect, people can't park on the sidewalk. It's against city ordinance. Where we get the ‘rub' with [the parking ban] is in neighborhoods with no off-street parking."
North Adams Police Director Michael Cozzaglio said that past practice has been to allow residents in areas such as Hermon Avenue and Arnold Place "leeway" when it comes to this ordinance.
"We have some side streets in the city where there is truly no off-street parking and many multifamily houses," he said. "We have allowed residents of those streets to park on the sidewalk as far off the road as possible. We will continue to do that in these areas, but the cars must be removed by 7 a.m. to allow pedestrians and school children access to the sidewalks."
However, he said this applies only to certain congested side streets, adding that parking is never allowed on the sidewalks or on the road of main roads of travel
Cozzaglio said the city will make use of its CodeRED emergency phone system during the winter, when appropriate, to apprise residents about emergencies.
"We don't want to overuse the system and get to the point where people ignore it," he said. "We utilized the system during Hurricane Sandy. The beauty of this system is that we can target certain sections of the city or can send a message out city-wide. When we used it during the hurricane, we only sent out calls to those registered individuals in our mobile home parks."
Alcombright said the city is once again committed to keeping at least one sidewalk on streets with heavy traffic clear of snow during the winter months.
"We made this commitment last year, which was easy since it was a mild winter," he said. "We made this commitment because of the number of pedestrians who walk within the city, whether it's to the store or to work. We have a new machine that is geared for this work. With that said, if it snows heavily for two days, we might not get to the sidewalks until the day after the storm."
The city also has commitments from the North Adams Housing Authority to clear the area in front of Ashland Park, and from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts for parts of Ashland and Church streets.
"We're also reminding residents about the city ordinance that requires them to remove snow from the sidewalks in front of their property," Alcombright said. "It's probably the least talked about and least enforced ordinance in the city. We want to remind people that it is their obligation to clear the streets. The state also passed a law [in 2010] that says that if a person is injured on uncleared sidewalks in front of your property, you can be sued."
Cozzaglio said if residents have questions about whether they can park on the sidewalk in their neighborhood, they should contact the police station at 413-664-4945.
Way of winter
* Parking is never allowed in North Adams on the sidewalks or on the road of main roads of travel in the city or on state highways. Main roads of travel are defined as:
Main, Ashland, Church, Eagle, East Main, Franklin, River and Houghton streets and Massachusetts Avenue. State highways (Routes 8 and 2) include: Curran Memorial Highway, State Road, State, Union, Beaver and West Main streets.
* Streets that will have one sidewalk free of snow in North Adams include:
Houghton Street up to North Street; Eagle Street up to Franklin Street; West Main Street up to the Sacco Bridge; Church Street up to the MCLA Church Street Center; and Ashland Street, from Main to Cumberland Farms and between the Ashland Park Apartments and Blackinton Street.