The next time you park on the wrong side of the street in Omaha during a major snowstorm — or leave your car behind when it gets stuck — you might find it missing when you return.
The City of Omaha is expanding the rules for the emergency procedures it began rolling out two years ago. When the city declares an emergency, cars parked east of 72nd Street have to be moved to one side of the street or the other, depending on the date and the street. On odd-numbered days, cars have to be parked on the side of the street with odd-numbered addresses, and vice versa.
Already, the city had said it would ticket drivers $50 if they failed to move their cars. Now, in a measure approved by the City Council on Tuesday, officials are stepping up their plans to tow vehicles that don’t comply.
If you parked on a neighborhood street and didn’t move to the proper side, city crews will likely tow the car to an on-street spot nearby. But if it’s left behind in a major street, the car is likely to end up in the impound lot.
“If it’s in a residential area, we’re going to make every effort to tow that car someplace where it’s in the vision of someone coming out to see where that car was parked,” said Scott McIntyre, the city’s street maintenance engineer, who added that if drivers can’t find their car, they should call the city’s Public Works Department.
Councilman Franklin Thompson said the goal is to let crews get to work on the snow earlier without causing a major inconvenience for people who forget about the rules.
“I know people are going to say, ‘Well I’ve got to search a couple of blocks to find my car,’” he said. “Keep in mind the alternative is to pay anywhere from $150 to $300 getting it out of a tow. Really, it’s a small inconvenience when you compare the two alternatives.”
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