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Heidelberg develops parking plan during snow emergencies

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:58 p.m.

It likely won't become official until the snow season ends, but Heidelberg will try a plan this winter that restricts parking on eight borough streets during declared snow emergencies.

Borough council discussed the plan in detail at its Dec. 18 meeting after it came up at the Dec. 11 council workshop meeting. The borough's public works department highlighted several streets where plowing is a problem with the presence of parked cars.

For now, the borough will attempt to restrict parking on eight streets when a snow emergency is declared with forecasts of six or more inches.

The affected streets are the north side of Zero Street, between Walnut and West Railroad streets; the east side of Walnut Street; the north side of Second Street, between Cherry Street and Ellsworth Avenue; the north side of Third Street, between Walnut Street and Ellsworth Avenue; both sides of Cherry Way Extension; the north side of Lincoln Avenue, between Jackson Street and Long Street; the north side of Grant Avenue, between Jackson Street and Hayes Street; and the north side of Hogans Way, between Jackson Street and Hayes Street.

Once the snow emergency is lifted, people will be permitted to park on the prohibited sides of the street.

“Principally, the plan is it makes it a lot easier for the snow plow to get through town, and it also frees up areas for the residents to park when the snow is removed,” manager Joe Kauer said. “We're looking out for them, in all reality.”

While the borough's code of ordinances includes a provision prohibiting parking on certain streets during snow emergencies, the ordinance does not list the streets. Because of that, the borough can't officially enforce the planning parking ban this winter by issuing citations or towing cars.

“The practical problem … is that by the time you were to do it through an ordinance, advertise (the) ordinance and everything else, you're at the end of the snow season,” solicitor Michael Kaleugher said.

For now, the borough will erect temporary signs on the affected streets and send letters to the residents in those areas in the hopes that people will follow the unofficial plan. Kauer said the letters would go out early this week, and enforcement won't take place until afterward.

Kauer said the borough will treat this winter as a trial period for the plan, which can be adjusted depending on what happens. The list of streets could grow or shrink depending on what the borough finds.

The letters sent out urge residents with concerns to attend the council meeting Jan. 15.

“I'm kind of happy they're doing it this way, so we're not towing cars until we get a feel of what we're getting ourselves into,” Kauer said. “I don't know of any municipalities really doing this in this area, so I give them credit. It's rather aggressive thinking. It's big picture.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or dgulasy@tribweb.com.

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