It's snowing, and with winter comes the need for snow plows to clear the streets. The Craig Police Department would like to remind everyone that Craig's road and bridge employees work hard and long hours to keep the streets plowed and cleared of snow.
However, they can't accomplish this without your help.
Plows usually start clearing the streets around 4 a.m. At that time, they plow around any vehicles that are parked on the street. This creates a windrow around those vehicles, which, if not removed, will build up and create traffic problems. As result, the plows will come back later and plow where the parked cars were. If the vehicles have not been moved, the Police Department is then called to "red tag" the vehicles.
Although this helps clear the street, it also creates conflict with vehicle owners.
When vehicles are "red tagged" for snow removal, the city is giving notice that the vehicles must be moved to a different parking place so the next time the plows come by, they can clean the area that was left around the parked vehicle. Vehicles must be moved within 72 hours of being tagged.
City ordinance 10.04.020 governs snow removal. In part, this ordinance states "Any vehicle parked or left unattended may be towed by the city or its agent, the cost of which shall be collectable from the owner or driver, if any of the following circumstances exist":
"3. The vehicle blocks or interferes with the maintenance of city streets for purposes such as repair of the street or removal of snow. The city shall only be able to enforce this subsection after making reasonable efforts to notify all vehicle owners of the need to remove such vehicles for maintenance."
Usually, not only is the vehicle itself "red-tagged," but extensive efforts are made to contact the registered owner.
Another potential problem for citizens is placing snow into the street. Section 2 of the above ordinance provides: "No person shall place or be responsible for the placing of any snow or ice or other debris of any kind in any public street, alley or right of way within corporate limits of the city."
This particularly is a problem if the plows already have cleared the street.
The road and bridge department offers a limited snow removal program for people older than 65 or physically disabled. Qualified citizens may go to City Hall and complete the proper forms requesting this service. The form will be forwarded to the road and bridge department for processing.
This program will remove only the windrow that the plow has created in the entrance to the driveway.
People who refuse to move their vehicles or who place snow in the street face a fine of as much as $300, plus any cost related to towing the vehicle.
No one likes to have to their vehicle towed, and city employees don't enjoy having to tow them. The Police Department and road and bridge employees ask for your cooperation this winter.
If you are going to be out of town for an extended period of time, please make arrangements for off-street parking. If it snows more than two inches, please move your vehicle off the street. For those who don't have access to off-street parking, please relocate your vehicle after the plow has gone by.
All of us working together can make our streets safer.
Code Enforcement Specialist Becky Otis will be doing most of the "red-tagging" of vehicles this year. If you have questions, call 826-2372.