ROCKPORT — This town has long put an overnight street parking ban in place from November to April.
But that schedule may change as town officials look at the advantages of their own CodeRED emergency system.
For a variety of reasons, overnight parking is largely outlawed on Rockport’s streets throughout the winter months, and the ban is in effect from midnight to 7 a.m. from Nov. 15 to April 15.
But some say the parking ban creates a hardship for those who rely on on-street parking, while using the CodeRED system to notify residents of an oncoming winter storm reduces the need for the sweeping ban, which is currently clamped in place regardless of weather conditions.
Other neighboring communities have used CodeRED in the past, and Rockport adopted the program in 2011. The CodeRED includes residents in the phone book and those whose choose to participate. Participants can opt for a call, email, text message — or choose to get all three — to be notified of an active or pending emergency.
“In this day and age with all the technology we have, there is no such thing as a sneak-up snowstorm,” said Selectman Paul Murphy.
Murphy said he has heard from residents who are against the ban and said the idea of modifying a ban or eliminating it is at least worth a discussion.
Murphy recognized that areas such as Bearskin Neck and downtown Rockport are most affected and said an outright parking ban may be “a little over the top” for snow and ice storms.
“It’s a real difficult situation for them,” he said of people who utilize on-street parking.
In Gloucester, parking bans are only in effect on a case-by-case basis. While the city issues a CodeRED, it also signals drivers on city streets of an active on-street parking ban through the flashing of blue lights that are strategically placed in the City Hall tower, at Flanagan’s Square, and along Western Avenue at Stacy Boulevard.
The Rockport Traffic Committee is planning to make a recommendation on the dates of the ban, according to committee member and Department of Public Works director Joe Parisi.
Parisi said he and other committee members Town Administrator Linda Sanders and police Chief John McCarthy agreed to recommend the ban end April 1 rather than April 15.
Parisi said the committee met with the highway foreman who works for the DPW, and modifying the date of the ban was discussed.
“With some reservation, it can be reduced a little bit in duration,” he said.
Scaling back the ban by an hour a day — so that it would run from midnight to 6 a.m., rather than through 7 a.m. — was also discussed, Parisi added.
But, the Nov. 15 start date is necessary to maintain the level of snow and ice removal in order for sanding trucks and other equipment to navigate Rockport’s narrow streets, he said.
“The problem is, there are times where we do have a storm that comes in early in the year,” Parisi said.
From a DPW perspective, Parisi said, getting rid of the ban outright is “not a recommendation we would make.”
The Board of Selectmen is set to discuss the issue at its meeting Tuesday at Town Hall, with the meeting set to start at 6 p.m.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.