My outrage at the Newton Police Department’s good intentions but poor understanding of parking dynamics blinded me to the second half of the Newton Police Department’s Facebook post, in which the Newton Police Department announces that it won’t be enforcing the overnight parking ban, unless there is a snow emergency:

Additionally, enforcement of the overnight parking ban will be suspended for both the Christmas and New Year holidays. Enforcement of the parking ban will not take place December 22nd through December 25th and December 29th through January 1st. If, however, there is a declared snow emergency during those dates, cars will need to be removed from the streets for the duration of the snow emergency as usual to allow for plowing.

First, this is absolutely the right policy. Newton has too much on-street parking, but the overnight parking ban is not the right solution.

Second, the Newton Police Department’s waiver-unless-it-snows approach illustrates just how unnecessary the winter parking ban is. Announcing a snow emergency is sufficient on its own to keep streets clear.

Third, this isn’t the first time.

Fourth, who’s making these decisions? The winter parking ban is a municipal law, duly enacted by Newton’s legislative body, as are parking reguations. Is anyone else uncomfortable with the Newton Police Department deciding on its own to ignore the laws as written? 

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