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Great Barrington winter parking ban is absurd

In a letter to the editor, James Manning writes: "How can there be two (2) sets of rules for parking at night and parking during the day, which is just as likely that snow plows will be on the streets in the daytime?"

To the Editor:

As a new resident who lives in downtown GB, I have inquired about the “Winter Parking Ban” which, in essence, states that parking on any GB street is prohibited from Nov 15 – April 1 from 11 p.m. – 6 a.m. I have spoken to my landlord who has told me that I can park in one of the two parking lots at the top of Castle and Railroad streets (which, by the way, had a dozen spaces unusable last year because of failure to de-ice). My immediate question was: Since these parking lots are usually full by the evening, how is the overflow handled? Well, there is no answer. You are on your own. And I see from a 2011 Berkshire Eagle report, the total ban on parking at night proposal was considered “the most radical.”

The winter ban essentially makes one believe that there will be snowfall every night for close to six (6) months which shows you how ridiculous this rule that is — so broad and out-of-proportion that one has to question the sensibility of this rule. It is so wide-ranging that it borders on the absurd. Of course, parking on the streets in the daytime is allowed, which means that if snowplows are out during the day, there is no blanket parking ban.

How can there be two (2) sets of rules for parking at night and parking during the day, which is just as likely that snow plows will be on the streets in the daytime? Obviously, merchants would be up in arms if there was a parking ban during the day time. So why are nighttime parking rules so restrictive — other than harming residents who have no assigned parking? Since most downtown residents need to park overnight, we have to park at, well, I don’t know (certainly not in a convenient location).

There are so many options and solutions which this space does not allow (including modern technologies like texting alerts). I would love to hear from town officials and residents about how they have resolved this problem in past years (solutions that don’t cost me).

James W. Manning

Great Barrington

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