Residents who have declined to dig out their cars from underneath mounds of snow have frustrated Somerville’s storm cleanup efforts, officials say. Now, they’ve been put on notice: move your vehicle or we’ll move it for you.
After sending workers from the city’s traffic and parking department out last weekend to place sticks with yellow warning signs into the snow heaps, officials said they’re now gearing up to call in reinforcements.
Somerville spokeswoman Denise Taylor said the abandoned cars, which have been plastered with four storms worth of snow and ice, are creating a safety hazard for workers trying to widen streets and open up parking for residents.
“Crews can’t tell if they are just cars or snow piles at this point,” she said. “It’s a risk for our equipment, and obviously bad for a car that gets hit, if they do hit it while trying to plow.”
The city has had to add extra workers to walk in front of plows to alert drivers if they’re approaching what looks to be a car encased in chunks of ice.
Police have been assisting in the tows since Monday. Officials said two cars were scheduled to be hauled away Tuesday.
“It’s a real hindrance for the snow removal process,” Taylor said. Violators face a $38 ticket and a $128 tow.
Residents were given 48 hours to move their cars, after the sign posts were planted next to them warning of ticketing and towing, but that deadline has passed. The city also sent robocalls and e-mails to residents.
If drivers refuse to clear out their vehicles, and opt to pay fines instead, workers will be forced to do the digging. Taylor said that wastes time that could be spent on snow removal.
“It’ll take that much longer for us if they haven’t dug it out at all,” she said. “Folks that don’t clean out their cars aren’t only creating hazards, they are wasting city services.”