City issues downtown parking ban

MERIDEN — Bright orange signs were scattered through downtown Friday indicating an emergency parking ban was in effect until early this morning. Though the ban on West Main Street did not come with a major announcement or much advance notice, it was not for an extended period of time.

“It’s a parking ban that will last overnight for snow removal,” said police spokesman Sgt. Darrin McKay. “It will only be for one day, overnight, for downtown.

Though it has been weeks since the last significant snowfall, mounds of snow still persist around the city and specifically in downtown. Because of frigid temperatures, the snow piles have not melted and continue to cause complications in the area.

In an interview Thursday about plans to reconfigure traffic in downtown, Public Works Director Robert Bass said sections of sidewalk that protrude into the street cause issues when it comes to snow maintenance.

The city plans to eliminate the so-called bump-outs. That will allow workers “to continually push snow through all of downtown like any normal street,” Bass said. “Then we won’t have these pockets inside the bump-out where you get all of that surplus snow, which makes it harder to gain access to any of these buildings.”

While the piles are significantly smaller than they were during the peak of winter, they’re still large enough to create problems. The piles put constraints on parking, blocking parts of many of the 56 parking spaces along West Main Street. By eventually removing the bump-outs, Bass said a full space may be lost “here and there” rather than losing multiple spaces due to snow mounds.

The snow removal efforts were scheduled to take place between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Friday evening into this morning. By enforcing the ban overnight, McKay said businesses and those visiting the downtown would likely not be affected.

With the removal of the bump-outs, Bass said he expects fewer Public Works employees will be involved in snow clearing, saving the city money.

“We’re looking at lower costs in downtown,” he said. 203-317-2266 Twitter: @DanBrechlinRJ

Record-Journal reporter Lauren Sievert contributed to this article.

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