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Nearly 300 tickets issued to vehicles that didn’t move for snowplows

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IDAHO FALLS — Over the holiday weekend, Idaho Falls Police issued nearly 300 tickets to vehicles that weren’t moved off the street for snowplows.

City spokeswoman Kerry Hammon told EastIdahoNews.com there were 172 tickets issued to vehicles that needed to be relocated on Friday and 125 tickets were issued Sunday. The vehicles were parked in Zone A, which is where the majority of the ticketing occurs during a snow event.

The ticketed vehicles were towed around the corner to get them out of the way.

“We take two days to plow Zone A. Zone A is the center of town. It’s the older streets that have narrow one-way streets, so the numbered streets for example,” she said.

According to a map on the city’s website, Zone A covers places like East 2nd Street, Ash Street, Cliff Street, and East 14th Street. These areas have very limited parking.

snow removal map
Zone A highlighted in green. | Courtesy: City of Idaho Falls website

“Plowing Zone A is always the most complicated,” said Hammon. “Because the streets are so narrow, we have to get those cars off the road. If we don’t … the snow builds up … where people park and it makes them park in the center of the road, making it more narrow.”

Hammon said during snow events, snowplows come and plow the east/west streets one day in Zone A and then north/south streets the next day.

“Let’s say you live on the east/west running roads, you can just park your car around the corner on the north/south where we are not plowing,” she said.

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Idaho Falls Police assisting with snow removal in years past. | Courtesy: Kerry Hammon

Hammon said the city does its best not to plow Zone A over a weekend because more people are home and use on-street parking. But sometimes it cannot be avoided. 

In January 2019, the city plowed on New Year’s Day and had a record number of vehicles that had to be ticketed and relocated. They issued 298 tickets.

This year, the city did not plow Zone A on New Years’ Day due to people being at home.

Public Works, tow companies and the police department are actively involved in getting the word out about snowplows every year. It slows down the process significantly when the city has to relocate vehicles when parking restrictions are in place.

“We can cut that time in half if all of the cars are removed from Zone A when we come through. We don’t have to stop and wait for the tow companies to relocate them,” she said.

Hammon explained tickets don’t generally get issued in other zones of the city, because there is not nearly as big of a problem with parked vehicles.

According to Jessica Clements with the Idaho Falls Police Department, the tickets that have been issued are $45.

“A very small amount of that goes towards covering processing/court fees. The majority is the cost of having the tow trucks relocate the vehicle and goes straight to the tow companies,” said Clements.

The city of Idaho Falls posts a snow removal schedule on its website when parking restrictions are in place. The city also has a spot where anyone can sign up for snow removal parking restriction notifications.

Snow removal
Snowplow and Idaho Falls Police vehicle from years past. | Courtesy: Kerry Hammon
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