Downtown Concord parking ban in effect into Thursday morning

  • A map of where parking is banned during winter maintenance parking. Caitlin Andrews

  • Mary Mulloy, of Strafford, Vt., works to dig her car out of the long term parking lot at the airport, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, in Manchester, N.H. Mulloy was returning from Salt Lake City, where temperatures were in the 70s. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) Jim Cole

Monitor staff
Thursday, December 28, 2017

The city of Concord’s first winter parking ban this season was enacted two weeks ago, but it’s already proved costly to dozens of city residents, not counting the downtown parking ban that ended Thursday morning for snow removal.

City parking enforcement supervisor David Florence said the city towed about 60 cars Dec. 22-23 and Dec. 25-26 city-wide parking bans. Wednesday night’s ban, as well as the Dec. 14 ban, were winter maintenance bans, and only affected certain streets in the downtown area.

The city issued 301 citations last season for a total ticket revenue of $30,100, with each citation costing $100. But that money is only part of part of the equation.

Those who violate the ban can face much steeper penalties if they end up getting towed. The city and the towing companies it contracts with for the winter season agree upon a towing rate during the fall. This year, the towing rate is $120, plus $60 if you want to get your car outside of operational hours, according to city documents. If you don’t fetch your car on the first day, there is also a storage fee of $50 per day. That money goes to the towing companies.

Florence, who was entering tickets Wednesday morning, said not every one of those citations resulted in a tow. When a parking ban is in place, the city sends out one to two parking enforcement officials whose only job is to patrol the streets and hand out tickets.

At the same time, they are in communication with the city’s plow trucks, who relay the locations of parked cars that prevent them from plowing. On some narrow streets, a parked car can block a plow from passing at all, Florence said.

Florence said there aren’t enough towing companies in the region to nab all offenders.

“We like to work with businesses within the city of Concord, so that someone who is towed doesn’t see their car end up in Tilton, or Manchester,” he said.

The city currently uses Patsy’s Auto Body and Alignment at 62 Basin St. and Above All Collision Center at 3 Industrial Drive for most of its towing operations.

The city has tried to warn people when there’s a parking ban by offering email subscription service alerts since 2008, Florence said.

The city also sends out notices to media outlets and posts about the ban on its general services and police department social media accounts, according to its winter operations policies, although it notes there’s no guarantee the ban will be advertised outside of city methods.

The city encourages people to avoid the ban by parking in its garages, which are free from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday. But not everyone takes advantage. “So far, when the winter parking ban has been in effect, the garages have not even been full,” Florence said.

Visit concordnh.gov/winteroperations for more information and to sign up for email alerts on winter maintenance parking bans and winter storm event parking bans.

Wednesday night’s ban was issued early Wednesday morning and was in effect until 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

Concord received 7.1 inches of snow on Christmas Day, according to the National Weather Service.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the towing rates and the number of vehicles Concord had towed during the Dec. 22-23 and Dec. 25-26 parking ban.