Salem City Council Approves New Snow Emergency Parking Policy

The Salem City Council approved a recent change to the snow emergency parking policy for city garages.

Salem City Council Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.
Salem City Council Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.

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

john January 10, 2014 at 04:56 PM
Who buys a home with no place to park in the winter? Residential taxpayers(like me)have a place to park but you are asking for all taxpayers to help those who bought homes without parking. Do you have a pool I can use in the summer?
Doren Berge January 10, 2014 at 05:31 PM
John - please consider that many taxpayers and downtown residents don't have children yet all taxpayers pay for the school system and other services including snow removal. That's how it works. Without downtown taxpayer revenue your tax burden would be considerably higher. Downtown residents are good for the city. I think you've missed the point. No one here is asking anything from you. But you are welcome to use my pool anytime. It's down at Forest River Park.
john January 10, 2014 at 05:56 PM
I am not sure how you can compare the school system to people who buy a home with no parking. You are correct that we all pay for schools and we also pay for access to public parks but in addition we get charged extra to use the pool. If you don't have a parking space ,find your own.
Doren Berge January 10, 2014 at 06:11 PM
Again - respectfully - I think you are missing the point. I do pay extra for parking. But when it snows we loose our parking. Parking that we "pay extra" for. That's the problem. No one here is asking for free parking. No one is asking anything from you. But if we pay for parking place we should be able to come home from work in a snowstorm and park. Because we paid "extra" for it...
peter crowley January 11, 2014 at 01:13 PM
In my opinion, it is not the city's responsibility to provide parking spaces. If you have a car, it is your responsibility to find and pay for parking. The city should charge whatever amount maximizes the revenue from the garages. Why should people without cars subsidize those who have them? Cars are private property, and I don't see any public good from subsidizing them. However, I think that Doren may a legitimate gripe if an annual pass for the garage cannot be used on certain nights. Does the city state that the pass provides a guarantee of a space?


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