snow cars

The city of Idaho Falls towed 432 vehicles off the streets on Jan. 1 and 2 for failure to comply with parking restrictions during a “snow event.”

Snow-related parking restrictions in Idaho Falls have been lifted now that the roads have been plowed.

Idaho Falls city crews plowed a total of 713 lane-miles, according to a news release. Of these, 56 percent were “Priority 3” streets, or residential streets that aren’t considered connector streets and get the lowest priority. They plowed 226 lane-miles of “Priority 1” streets, or major connectors such as Sunnyside Road and Yellowstone Avenue, and 89 lane-miles of “Priority 2” streets, or minor connectors such as John Adams Parkway and most downtown streets.

The city also towed 432 vehicles off the streets on Jan. 1 and 2 for failure to comply with parking restrictions. During a “snow event,” or when more than 2 inches of snow fall, on-street parking is restricted downtown and in “Zone A,” or the denser area of the city east of downtown and around the numbered streets, with the restrictions depending on the time, the day, and whether you’re on an east/west or north/south street. On-street parking is banned entirely in “Zone B,” which consists of the rest of the city, until the streets are cleared.

More cars were towed on Jan. 1, city spokeswoman Kerry Hammon said, since people having the day off meant more cars on the street in largely residential Zone A. In total, 298 cars were towed on New Year’s Day and 134 on Jan. 2.

“Yesterday, we don’t think we had as many because people went back to work, so their cars weren’t parked outside,” Hammon said. “Unfortunately, (the snow event) fell during the holiday. Some people were out of town.”

There weren’t any snow removal requests in 2018, Hammon said. The 298 cars towed Jan. 1 was higher than any one day in 2017, although there were days in 2016 and 2017 when more cars were towed than on this Jan. 2. The city towed 191 cars on Dec. 5, 2017, 177 that Dec. 6, 178 on Jan. 13, 2017 and 162 on Dec. 19, 2016. Overall, snow removal has led the city to tow 1,648 cars from Dec. 18, 2016 through this week.

People whose cars were towed face a $45 fine for violating the snow removal ordinance.

Although there are more ways to reach people than ever before, Hammon said the proliferation of different options and the resulting audience fragmentation has made it harder to reach people. Fewer people follow local media; you can listen to streaming services instead of local radio; the city posts information on Facebook and Twitter but there are many social media platforms.

Hammon urged people to sign up for the city’s text alerts, which you can do by texting ifalerts to 91011. She also encouraged people to talk to their neighbors who might not use or have the internet or follow local media, to make sure they know about parking restrictions.

“We encourage people to sign up for some sort of communication,” she said. “Either city communications or through local media, not only for snow removal alerts but for public safety and emergency communications. Even though we have more forms and channels of communication, it’s been spread out more, too, which has actually made it more difficult for us to communicate with people.”

If your car was towed and you need information, call the non-emergency dispatch number, 208-529-1200.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

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