Which comes first? The snow or the snow-route parking ticket?
With some 105 citations issued so far this year, the Silverton Town Council wants to see enforcement rolled back to the early morning when the plows are actually hitting the streets.
And the council passed a resolution Monday night again modifying snow-route policies, establishing a virtual ticket-free zone on 12th Street between Greene and Blair, as long as the vehicles clear out by 9 a.m.
All the streets in Silverton are considered snow routes under existing rules, requiring an odd-even parking system for side streets and a ban on overnight parking on Greene Street when the town Public Works Department issues a “red alert.”
The Town Council in January slashed the cost for the snow-route tickets from $150 to $25, and also set up a permit system whereby Grand Imperial Hotel guests could park on 12th Street between Greene and Blair.
But with snow-route parking tickets flying almost as fast as the snow falls this winter, the Silverton Town Council on Monday night again shoveled through the issue in an effort to find a more workable resolution to the clash between parked vehicles and snowplows.
And the town trustees approved a resolution that created a sort of red-alert “green zone” in downtown Silverton — a safe haven for vehicles to park without risking a $25 fine or towing, as long as they clear out by 9 a.m.
Town officials noted the snow-plowing season is theoretically nearing an end, allowing the matter to thaw a bit.
Town Administrator Jason Wells suggested the town council consider cordoning off the ticket-free zone in downtown Silverton after pointing out problems with the policy adopted just weeks ago establishing the permit system for guests at the Grand Imperial.
Those guests had been left with almost nowhere to go under the town’s snow-route.
But the sheriff's office found it problematic to scrape windshields to determine which parked vehicles had the required permits, Wells told the Town Council.
The town trustees also backed a plan put forward by Wells to have enforcement rolled back from late-night raids to early morning sweeps of unauthorized vehicles that are actually obstructing snow plows as the Town Crew hits the streets.
“What we would like to do is (have public works) call the officer on duty, then they would come out when we’re out plowing,” said Gilbert Archuleta, town Public Works supervisor.