Wausau City Council sends proposal banning overnight parking in winter back to committee

Published: Dec. 10, 2019 at 6:29 PM CST
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The Wausau City Council decided during Tuesday night's meeting to send a proposal banning overnight street parking during the winter back to the Capital Improvement and Street Maintenance Committee.

Right now, people are able to park on city streets overnight on an odd-even system. But, the city is looking to change that with an ordinance to ban parking on the street from 2:30 am to 6:30 am during the period from December 1 to February 28.

It is inconvenient to have to move your car off the street every night, but the city says when it can't plow its set route, the whole street becomes unsafe.

"Right now, we're looking at a street that's tough to get through because the cars are all parked here,” said Ric Mohelnitzky, the Superintendent of the street division of Public Works, pointing out a narrow street that was lined with at least 30 cars on one side.

Mohelnitzky says the city has a specific plow route, designed to make sure everything gets cleared. But when they run into a street with too many cars, they won't plow it or treat it.

"If they're parked on both sides of the road, we won't even attempt," he said.

If a plow driver hits a car, it counts against their license, and he says, it’s not worth even a slight risk.

The big plows don't always fit through narrow streets, especially with cars in the way. And when they have to come back and try again, it could end up being tedious for neighbors.

"The adjacent neighbor would get that because that's where the snow would end up," he said.

He says they end up dumping more snow in people's already cleared driveways. Mohelnitzky said he understands both sides of the issue, with some apartment buildings forcing residents to park on the street.

"If you live in an apartment, there's not enough parking in the parking areas that were allotted to you, I understand that," he said.

But at the end of the day, he said, it's about keeping everyone using the road safely.

"There's a school right down from us, and there's a main street right over here that our operator could not plow it or get some material down to de-ice it," he said.

City Council decided to send the proposal back to committee for more research. Some council members were concerned that passing this issue would cause confusion on where people would be allowed to park because there was no clear solution.

The council is expected to review another proposal in June of 2020.

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