New city plowing rules: even before odd

The City Council unanimously changed snow emergency plowing procedures and parking rules to simplify the process and reduce car tows, backers said.

The measure passed 12-0. It means that starting this year, the city will always follow the same plowing pattern.

In a snow emergency, Public Works will plow snow emergency routes first. Next, it will plow the even side of non-snow-emergency streets, where parking will be banned. Finally, it will plow the odd sides of streets.

Odd-side residents shouldn't feel cheated: from now on, if the city has to go to one-side-of-the-street parking, it will always close the even side.

Under the old system, the snow emergency parking rules changed each year. The city would start plowing the snow emergency routes, then start plowing either the even side or the odd side of the street (depending on whether the year ended in an odd or even number.)

It might have made the system fairer, spreading the burden for residents, but City Councilmember Sandy Colvin-Roy (12th Ward) said the rules were too confusing. Imposing the same rules each year would save the city money in communications and potentially reduce towing.

Public Works and city communications staff interviewed people who had cars towed during snow emergencies and the vast majority of them said the rules were too confusing, Colvin Roy said.