City mulls plan to plow parking spots
Aspenites may enjoy better plowed streets this winter, but they’ll have to know north from south and east from west to make it work.
The city plans to experiment with a rotating schedule to clear the parking lanes of snow that will require motorists to keep their vehicles off the north, south, east and west sides of streets on certain days or nights of the week.
Exactly where in the city the street department will give the arrangement a try – and during what hours – has yet to be determined, but City Council members agreed Monday they’d like to pursue the idea.
The city will probably pick out a specific area for the experiment, said City Manager Steve Barwick.
With vehicles parked along the streets, the area near the curb quickly becomes a hard pack of accumulated snow and ice that does not get plowed, sometimes for weeks. The streets department has to put out temporary signs warning motorists not to park along a certain stretch in advance in order to plow out the mess.
“We ought to be able to devise a system to make it easier to clean the streets,” said Councilman Jim Markalunas.
As snow accumulates along the curb, streets get continually more constricted as winter goes on, added Councilman Tom McCabe, relating his own experiences in the East Hopkins Avenue neighborhood.
“God forbid we should have a real emergency down there,” he said. Emergency vehicles could have a hard time maneuvering on the narrowed street, McCabe said.
Jack Reid, former superintendent of streets, came up with the so-called compass plan for street clearing. He has since left Aspen for a job in Grand Junction.
The system could close one side of a street every fourth night or it could be in effect just four days a week, like Monday through Thursday, Barwick said.
In past discussions, he reminded the council, there have been concerns about closing off one-quarter of the on-street parking.
“For four nights a week, you’ve blocked off 25 percent of the parking – that doesn’t work either,” he said.
Jerry Nye, the acting superintendent of the streets department, said he’d like to give the system a try.
“It would be great for keeping the streets open,” he said. “It would be real helpful to get in there and push back snow without having to hassle people and tow and stuff.”
Nye said he sees value in using the system year-round, allowing streets to be swept up to the curb in the summer months and thoroughly plowed during the winter.
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