John O'Gurek, a member of Summit Hill Borough Council, this week urged his peers to start working on parking regulations for the borough that would apply to snowstorms.
He said there is some ambiguities in the present parking ordinance and as a result, it is difficult to enforce.
Other council members seemed to pooh pooh his concerns, but he has a good point.
Of course we want to think of summer. We had enough winter weather.
However, regulations for winter parking should be explicit and enforcible. Also, it is important to start working on the rules before winter arrives so there is time to have them written, approved, advertised, passed, and enforced.
This isn't something only Summit Hill should be doing. Any municipalities with vague winter parking ordinances should also think about making specific rules.
Some municipalities ban parking on a specific side of the street during snowstorms. Sometimes such a ban goes into effect when snow reaches a specific depth - say two or three inches. Other times parking regulations are enforced by times, such as between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Unfortunately, not every town has specific winter parking rules. Worse, too little enforcement happens. How many tickets were given this past winter for violating parking regulations? Not many.
Too often ordinances are drawn up and passed which either can't be enforced or just simply aren't enforced. This translates to a waste of taxpayers' dollars.
Ordinances must be drawn up by a solicitor - a lawyer - which is a cost. They then must be advertised for passage, which is another cost.
Many municipalities have winter ordinances which say it is illegal to toss snow into the street. Is this ever enforced? Nah.
It's not too early to think about next winter. It takes time to write them up, pass them, advertise them, and obtain and install the appropriate signs to let people know what the respective regulations state.
O'Gurek doesn't feel there should be restrictions when snow is only three inches deep because, he said, most people have front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles.
We disagree with this assessment because just a couple inches of snow can cause some treacherous driving conditions.
Anyway, it's good O'Gurek is giving thought well in advance to problems that can arise in the future. And, the council - not only in Summit Hill but other towns, too - should look at winter parking rules and upgrade them if needed.
Don't wait until the problem occurs and be stuck without a solution. Instead, now is the time to address it.
This doesn't apply to parking on main thoroughfares but also alley parking where sometimes they are so narrow that garbage trucks or emergency vehicles can't get through them if parking doesn't occur properly.
Even sidewalk shoveling should be addressed in the winter rules.
By RON GOWER