Winter parking laws take effect in snowy cities across the US

·3 min read

If you live in a snowy city in the United States, chances are winter parking restrictions have already taken effect around you.

Winter parking restrictions typically go into effect on or before Dec. 1 in most cities that have them, and every city has its own unique rules and restrictions. In some instances, they are only in effect during snow emergencies, while other cities keep the restrictions in place through the duration of the winter season, even if there is no snow.

The two major ways that cities enact winter parking restrictions are through winter parking bans and alternate side parking.

During winter parking bans, cars cannot be parked on either side of the street. Alternate side parking offers residents more leeway, where they can park on the side of the street with odd numbered addresses on odd numbered days of the month and can park on the side of the street with even addresses on even days of the month.

A motorist digs a path to his car Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, after an overnight snow storm dumped up to 18.5 inches in the Chicago area. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chicago's winter parking restrictions have already taken place for the season, according to ABC 7 Chicago. The city's winter parking restrictions include an overnight parking ban, where no cars can park on main arterial streets from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. The restrictions will remain in place until April 1, 2022.

Milwaukee has also enacted its winter parking restrictions on Dec. 1, in which restrictions on street parking are put in place during a snow emergency. According to WTMJ TV, Milwaukee Public Schools open its parking lots during snow emergencies to provide additional parking to residents that rely on street parking.

Winter parking rules are typically listed on the street signs, and failure to follow them can result in ticketing or even getting your vehicle towed.

Car parked for several days Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, are covered in cumulative snow in Chicago, the morning after a snowstorm dumped up to 18 inches in the greater Chicago area. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

For cities that only enact restrictions during snow emergencies, it may be a while before any restrictions are enforced.

As of Dec. 3, only 6.0% of the contiguous U.S. was covered by snow, compared to last year when 16.9% of the U.S. was covered. This year's amount of snow cover is the lowest it has been at this point in the year since 2003, which was the first year contiguous U.S. snow cover was measured.

The U.S. may be relatively snowless for now, but AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said the northern Plains and Great Lakes could get some snow as early as this weekend. Even parts of New England could see some snow on Monday. Later in the week, even more parts of the East Coast could see flakes.

"The snow threat for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Tuesday into Wednesday night looks to be growing as a storm can bring wintry weather to the area," Reppert said. "The exact track is still uncertain though, so snow may be less widespread depending on the track, but there may also be ice with that storm too."

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