Odd-even parking violators slow GR snowplows

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After several inches of snow blanketed the city Monday, Grand Rapids city plow driver Kay Weeda was among the drivers working 12-hour shifts to clear the streets.

The effort was slowed by frigid temperatures.

“We can’t throw salt down on this. All it’s going to do is just freeze and turn to ice,” Weeda explained.

Another challenge: drivers failing to follow the odd-even parking ordinance.

“That car’s not even up to the curb. It’s going to be real close,” Weeda noted as he slowly maneuvered his 50,000-pound truck between cars parked on either side of a street on the city’s north side. 

“All the roads that have odd-even parking, it’d be great if people actually followed that,” Weeda continued. “Sometime it’s so tight we’ve had to back out.”

There are also drivers who don’t give the trucks room to work while traveling down the road.  

“People get in too big of a hurry and think that, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get around the snowplow ’cause they’re going too slow.’ But we’ve got to clear the snow and be safe at the same time,” Weeda said.

Grand Rapids Public Service Director James Hurt says Monday’s snow was especially challenging. Crews cover the main drags first and in many cases hit them again and again.

“We plow a street and just in a matter of minutes, it’s like we weren’t even there,” Hurt said. “Please be patient with us. We’re going to get there. We’re going to get it cleared up. We just need some time.”

It could take another day to get side streets clear.

Hurt said residents following the odd-even parking ordinance sure would help. The city has an online map showing where those rules are in effect. The key is to think ahead before you go to bed to make sure your car is in the right place on the right day.

“We’re going to be getting in to our local streets hopefully tonight and we’re going to be pushing back to the curb,” Hurt said. “Having those cars moved out of the way would certainly help us and help the residents get a clear street.”

Some West Michigan cities are cracking down on on-street parking ordinances or even issuing a ban on on-street parking until the snow is over. Check with your city to make sure you’re following the rules to help plow drivers.

The U.S. Postal Service also warned that mail delivery could be delayed if streets aren’t clear, though that’s always a last resort. It also asked residents to shovel away ice and snow from walks, stairs and around mailboxes so your letter carriers can get through safely.

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