City reminds residents of alternate parking

On Monday afternoon, Lake Shore Drive was starting to clear-up, after snow plows removed some of the excess slush that accumulated through the recent winter storm. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

 In 2017, Lake Shore Drive was starting to clear-up, after snow plows removed some of the excess slush that accumulated through a winter storm. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Driving through Manistee one might notice on some streets vehicles are parked only on one side, but on others vehicles can be seen on both sides of the street — violating Manistee’s seasonal alternate parking system.

However, the city is reminding drivers to abide by the alternate parking ordinance, as leaf pickup is still in progress and winter weather is becoming more frequent.

Jeff Mikula, Department of Public Works (DPW) director, said as the weather changes, alternate parking violations hinder snow plows from clearing streets, especially in narrow areas.

As leaf pickup is still in full swing, Mikula said alternate parking makes the process run much more smooth.

“One thing I would like to note, is alternate parking is in effect in the city,” said Mikula. “That starts early in the fall for the purpose of picking up leaves and carries through the winter, so we can clean both sides of the streets.

“When we had to plow this (past) Sunday I noted that there were still a lot of cars parked on both sides, which makes it very difficult for trucks to get through.”

The leaf pickup is a five week process.

Annual leaf pickup started on Nov. 5, and will continue into the first week of December. Crews will begin each Monday and complete one pass throughout the city each week.

Alternate parking is in effect from Oct.15 through April 15 for leaf and snow removal. The alternate parking system is in effect 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Even dates — park on even numbered side of the street. Odd dates — park on odd numbered side of the street.

The change-over time is between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., allowing residents to switch their vehicles for the upcoming day.

“Alternate parking works very well for us because, number one, physically we can get the plows down the street and, number two, when one side of the street is completely free of cars we can get the snow back behind the curb-lines,” said Mikula. “We come back the following day and plow what we call the alternates.”

The parking ordinance will be enforced accordingly.

Alternate parking violators face fines of $40, if paid within 14 days. After 14 days the fine is $100. If not paid within the additional 14 days, the citation is turned over to a collection agency.

With snowfall arriving early in November, Mikula said the trucks are already prepared for any weather event.

“With the weather forecast last week, we loaded the salt trucks up so they would be ready and started making brine,” he said. “This time of the year it’s hard because some days you’ve got snow and other days it’s warm. We are still picking up leaves.”

According to the DPW, plowing typically commences during the following weather conditions:

• When two or more inches of snow or slush has made driving conditions hazardous, blading is completed to remove the material from the driving lane. Sand and salt is placed on the road surface;

• Freezing rain is treated with a mixture of sand and salt; and

• Drifting snow accumulating to about four to six inches is plowed.

Right now, Mikula said the DPW is responding to individual weather events, and plans to plow as needed.

“We plow based on what the weather delivers to us,” said Mikula. “When we have got enough accumulation of snow, then we send the plow trucks out. But a lot of times on Saturday and Sunday, the snow is melting very quickly (due to ground temperatures).”

However, when snow events pick up and start occurring more frequently, the city plans to switch to 24-hour service. The 24-hour service would run all week, with a gap in coverage.

“Last year we were able to have 24-hour coverage using our own people Sunday night through Saturday night,” he said. “When the snow starts to accumulate and the systems start to come with frequency, we will go back to our winter schedule.”

The National Weather Service forecasts a chance of rain and snow showers in the evening on Friday night, with a chance of snow showers after midnight. On Saturday, there is a 50 percent chance of snow showers.

Drivers should also prepare for snow and ice by following these Manistee County Sheriff’s Office recommended safety tips:

• Be prepared; Make sure your vehicle is in the best shape like ensuring the car has the proper mix of antifreeze, sufficient tire treads and battery;

• Carry emergency supplies like a flashlight, phone, batteries, jumper cables, brush/scraper, fire extinguisher, blanket, extra clothes, water, first aid kit, flares and a shovel;

• Keep the gas tank near full, as low levels can build up condensation and cause troubles;

• Check the National Weather Service weather forecasts for advisories, watches and warnings of snow and or ice accumulations;

• Do not forget to use a seat belt; and

• Make sure your vehicle is inspected before winter.

For those with questions on alternate parking, contact the Manistee City Police Department at (231) 723-2533. With questions on snow removal or the run water list, contact Mikula at (231) 723-7132.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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