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Winter parking ban to come into effect Dec. 1

Flickr/Mike Saechang

Beginning Dec. 1, Amherst’s winter parking ban will go into effect and parking of vehicles on town streets overnight will be prohibited.

Christopher Pronovost, officer of patrol operations for the Amherst Police Department, said the nightly ban runs from 2 to 6 a.m., and is usually heavily enforced until around March, when warmer weather becomes commonplace and the risk of snowstorms diminishes.

“If you’re a student, you should find winter parking arrangements,” Pronovost said in an interview Monday, saying that buying a parking permit from the University of Massachusetts might end up being worth the cost.

For a first offense, the vehicle’s license plate is run through a computer system and issued a warning.

If violating the ban a second time, a $25 fine is issued.

Upon a third offense, the owner of the vehicle is ticketed and it is towed at the owner’s expense, usually by Ernie’s Towing or Amherst Towing. Towing usually costs over $100, Pronovost said.

“We have a system in place, and we try to warn people,” Pronovost said, adding that if a surprise snowstorm hits, all cars parked on the street are towed regardless of number of offenses because “we need to clear the street.”

Pronovost said alternative parking locations during the winter ban include the parking lots located on Pray Street and off of Amity Street behind CVS.

Pronovost said he would put the average number of vehicles towed during the winter parking ban at six per week for a total of about 100 cars during the winter months.

 

Chelsie Field can be reached at cfield@student.umass.edu.

 

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