North Adams officials field pitch to resolve winter parking woes

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NORTH ADAMS — A city resident has spearheaded a proposal, to end the city's overnight parking ban in the winter.

Veazie Street resident Aleksandr Lisser petitioned the City Council to put an end to the long practice of banning parking on city streets and sidewalks between the hours of 1 and 6 a.m. during the winter.

The proposal was brought forward by Councilor Joshua Moran at Tuesday's regular Council meeting. It will be debated by the council in the coming months.

"Under current regulations they made it impossible to have cars for residents without off-street parking at their properties," Lisser stated in a letter to the council. "The City Council and mayor of North Adams have been negligent to resolve this problem, even as many residents has been complaining about it multiple times over many years."

Offenders of the overnight parking ban often are ticketed.

Lisser argues that there are hundreds of properties around the city that don't offer off-street parking for residents, and there is no city ordinance mandating landlords provide such parking.

"In summer it does not create any problems; but from Nov. 1 until April 30 of every year, it becomes a huge burden for residents of such houses," Lisser wrote.

In addition to the overnight parking ban, residents without parking spaces can face obstacles during winter snow emergencies that also eliminate on-street parking.

Among Lisser's suggestions for potential solutions were a special "exception" sticker for residents without off-street parking, free public parking lots, and alternate-side street parking.

Mayor Richard Alcombright said he was aware of Lisser's concerns and suggested the city's traffic commission take it up at its Jan. 20 meeting, with input from public safety officials and the city solicitor.

The council, which agreed to the mayor's recommendation, is expected to take up the matter in February following a recommendation from the Traffic Commission.

Councilor Keith Bona questioned the possibility of allowing vehicles to park on the sidewalk and noted that when the city constructs new sidewalks they must conform to Americans with Disabilities Act standards for width.

"If we're allowing cars to be parked on the sidewalk ... it seems to defeat the purpose of sidewalks needing to be a certain width for wheelchairs and scooters."

The city is often lenient with those who park on sidewalks overnight, Alcombright said, but asks that the owner move the vehicle in the morning so pedestrians can use the pathway.

"Even when such residents tried to park their vehicles partially on the curb/sidewalk to keep more space on the street — police officers have been giving out tickets for violations such as 'sidewalk' or 'night' parking, or 'impending snow removal,' " Lisser wrote. "That kind of situation has been going for years without any end."

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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