At their meeting at City Hall Thursday night, Salem city councilors unanimously approved a recent change to the city's parking policy during snow emergencies.
In an effort to simplify parking in city garages during snow emergencies, the city recently changed its parking rate during emergencies to a flat fee of $5 for any period of time up to 24 hours.
"This came about because parking used to be free in the garages during storms and they were being filled up so quickly that people living downtown would come home from work and there would be no spots for them," councilor Arthur Sargent said, adding, "This is designed to prevent that - so that there will still be spaces for people when they came home."
Sargent also pointed out that he would support raising the rate if it turns out a $5 fee isn't enough incentive to keep garage spaces open at least until downtown residents get home from work on the day of snow emergencies.
"If people still come home and find those spaces filled maybe we'll have to make it $6," Sargent said. "This was always something that was going to be in flux."
In addition to the new flat rate, the policy stipulates that vehicles parked in city garages during a snow emergency should be removed from the garage by the close of business on the day the snow emergency ends.
Vehicles left in a garage after the close of business on the day that a snow emergency concludes will begin to accrue charges at the garage's regular hourly parking rate.
What do you think of the new policy? Have you had trouble finding parking in city garages during snowstorms?
Let us know in the comments section below.