South Portland delays overnight parking ban until December

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SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council on Monday pushed the start of the overnight winter parking ban back one month, to Dec. 1.

The original ordinance, which prohibited parking on streets from midnight-6 a.m. Nov. 1-April 1, dates back to the 1980s, City Manager Jim Gailey said. 

The unanimous decision to change the law was based largely on a lack of extreme snowfall before December and requests from residents, Gailey said.

“I think it’s a routine conversation piece every year: why are we having a parking ban that starts in November when we very seldom have a plowable storm in November,” Gailey said at the Oct. 5 meeting. 

The ordinance change does not preclude the possibility of storm-related emergency parking bans in November, Councilor Maxine Beecher noted. 

Last winter city staff reviewed possible city-owned parking lots or areas – one on the east end of the city and one on the west end – to be used for overnight parking during winter storms, Gailey said. 

Earlier this month, the council designated the municipal boat ramp lot at Bug Light Park as one of those areas, along with the parking lot on Waterman Drive in Knightville, between C and E streets. 

At a Sept. 14 City Council workshop, Gailey told councilors that staff felt these locations are feasible because they wouldn’t interfere with clearing the streets the following morning. 

The Willard Beach parking lot was also considered because it is more centrally located, Gailey said, but it was determined that the area is too small and it would be difficult to plow, especially with more cars.

The west end parking area, “which could be in the Redbank area or Wilkinson Park, or both,” Gailey said, is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks. 

“I think it’s an olive branch,” Councilor Patti Smith said of the overflow lots at the Sept. 14 workshop. 

Councilor Claude Morgan asked if any sort of seasonal bus service could be set up, particularly for people who park at the boat ramp. Gailey said rerouting city buses wouldn’t work because the transportation schedules are already tight. 

“It’s a long, bitter walk,” Morgan said of Bug Light Park. “You’re out on the peninsula. You’re going to park your car there and then walk home? It’s like hiking in Siberia.”

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.