Snow emergency route ordinance allows city to ban parking

Indy officials decided not to act on option

INDIANAPOLIS - The snow emergency route ordinance is a powerful tool at the disposal of city officials. It empowers public safety officials to order a total ban on parking along designated routes during snow events.

Officials discussed invoking the ordinance over the weekend for the first time in decades.

Central Avenue is a major north-side arterial that that is covered over in snow and snow-covered vehicles.

It's one of hundreds of lane miles that carry the official designation of a snow emergency route. The designation gives public safety officials authority to prohibit parking -- an option the city discussed but didn't act on.

"We did not go to that extreme because we saw the cold temperatures coming. It would have been much more difficult had it occurred during the week," Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs said.

Delaware Street is another major thoroughfare that moves traffic north out of downtown.

Shelley Mitchell and hundreds of her neighbors have spent the past three days trying to dig their vehicles out of the snow pack. Invoking a snow route designation would have worked a hardship for many residents.

"It's real difficult because of the apartment complexes that don't have parking lots. This is the only option for us," Mitchell said.

Living and parking along a street designated as a snow emergency route has its pros and cons. It means that during any snow event, a street will be plowed. It also means a strong likelihood that vehicles along that street will be plowed in.

City officials said the emergency snow route designation gives them flexibility to base street closings by the depth of the storm and locations of greatest needs.

"How many big events, how many people, when is the storm hitting, really make decisions based on facts that we have at the moment," Riggs said.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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