Staff editorial: Nov. 17, 2011

Staff editorial: Nov. 17, 2011

Each year on Nov. 1, the city of Eau Claire’s winter parking rules are set into place until May 1. During those six months, cars must be parked on the side of the street with even house numbers on even-numbered days (as of that night at midnight) and odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered calendar days, according to Haley Zblewski’s article in the Nov. 10 issue of The Spectator. 

According to that same article, nearly 6,000 tickets were given out last year just for breaking the winter parking rules. The student housing area is largely without driveways or garages, so students have no place to park but the street. That wouldn’t be a problem if more students were informed about the parking rules before they happen.

The regulations need to be more publicized. For example, flyers could be distributed to mailboxes in the student housing area of town to let students know about the rules who wouldn’t have otherwise heard about them, to avoid getting slammed with a $30 parking ticket just for parking outside their houses. Another option is to put ‘warning’ tickets on vehicles during the few weeks leading up to Nov. 1, letting students know that the rules will change come November.

Another concern is the stringent November to May dates of the parking regulations. Why park on one side of the street when the snow’s long melted come May? Apparently for street sweeping purposes, but one could argue that Eau Claire streets are swept more than most.

Essentially, parking regulations make sense for snow plowing reasons and safety during the winter months, but need to be much more widely publicized to prevent students from being issued costly tickets. Once the snow melts, the parking rules should, too.