Kzoo parking signs, snow emergency conflict

Ian Howell followed Kalamazoo parking signs, but he parked in the wrong place under the rules of a snow emergency. (Jan. 29, 2014)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Many Kalamazoo residents were confused Wednesday about an emergency order meant to help crews dig out city streets.

Permanent parking signs say one thing and an emergency order says another.

“The parking rules are posted on the signs right there. That says, ‘Parking allowed Wednesday 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.’ So you have to follow that and if not, you get a ticket,” driver Ian Howell said Wednesday.

So Tuesday night, he parked on the side of the road with even-numbered addresses. What he didn’t know was that by obeying the sign in front of his house, he was violating the emergency order issued Monday by the city manager.

“I have no idea,” he said. “Maybe I was wrong, maybe I was right. Typically on a normal day, this would have been the correct side of the road to park on.”

Now he doesn’t know what to do.

“I was planning on moving my car over here for tonight, but with this parking rule, I’m not sure,” Howell said.

Just down the road, his neighbor was equally confused.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Assistant Chief Donald Webster said he understands residents’ confusion.

“We’re aware of that and have gotten some calls on that,” Webster said.

Under the order, there’s no parking allowed on the side of roads with even-numbered addresses until 7 p.m. Thursday night.

Then, from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Saturday, there’s no parking allowed on the odd side of the road.

“You could get a ticket for parking in those areas and or get towed,” Webster said.

City officials say the ordinance should help emergency vehicles get down city streets.

“We need to get the streets cleared,” Webster said. “We’ve had complaints from citizens who can’t get down their streets because cars are parked on both sides of the roadway,” Webster said.

Residents who spoke with 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday said they knew nothing about the order.

“First I’ve heard of it was when you came up and mentioned it to me,” resident Sam Lampen told 24 Hour News 8.

The city says it notified the public only through a press release it sent to media outlets. That’s one reason the assistant chief says the city plans to go easy on violators and may void tickets.

There is still no parking at all on city streets from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., unless signs say otherwise.

The city says the order may be lifted early depending on the weather.

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