People who leave cars parked in at least one city-owned parking lot for more than 24 hours, might soon find their car is gone when they return.
Last week the New London Board of Public Works discussed an ongoing problem with a city-owned downtown parking lot. The lot is located behind the 200 block of East North Water Street.
Public Works Director Jeff Bodoh reported there have been issues with ice and snow in the parking lot, some of which stems from renters parking vehicles and letting them sit longer than 24 hours.
“Naturally this interferes with plowing,” he explained.
Patty Frank, owner of Patty’s Hair Affair, and Earl Luaders, of Luaders Law Office, explained that the lot and alley have become a dangerous situation in the winter.
“We have 18 parking spots and 11 are being taken up from renters in properties across the street,” said Patty Frank. “That means we have seven parking spots for six businesses.”
“Some of them (renters) have two or three vehicles and a lot of them are just sitting there and never move,” she added.
Alderwoman Lori Dean noted that she had seen one vehicle in the lot last year that wasn’t moved all winter.
Luaders said that ice and snow are the primary concern.
“It’s not good. People are afraid they’re going to fall and be injured,” he said.
The contracted snow removal firm is unable to properly clean the lot because of the parked vehicles, and they don’t return for cleaning if and when the cars do move.
Mayor Gary Henke explained that it doesn’t help matters that the lot is an older lot with poor drainage in some areas.
“The ice is as big of an issue as the snow,” said Frank.
Alderman Mike Barrington asked if signage could be placed warning violators of the 24-hour parking ordinance and he said it should be noted that they could be towed.
Bodoh said police could ticket the cars, however others felt a $10 ticket alone would not be enough of a deterrent.
“I don’t think you would have to tow them often, once you did it once or twice, that’s probably all it would take,” Luaders said.
“I think you are right. I think that’s all it would take,” Dean said.
Alderman Ron Steinhorst said, “Sometimes being nice is just not nice enough.” If there is a persistent problem he added, “What’s wrong with getting tough?”
Bodoh was instructed to have signs put up reminding people of the ordinance and the possibility of being towed.
The board also passed a motion to approve Rowl’s Auto Body and Snow Plowing for snow removal in the parking lot and alley for the 2014-15 winter season.
Business owners contracted with Rowl last year to clean up problem areas in the lot when the previous contractor could not return.