Police issue 18 parking tickets during Easthampton WinterFest, Fire and Ice Art Walk

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
EASTHAMPTON — Police wrote 18 parking tickets totaling $360 on Saturday evening when downtown streets were crowded with people attending WinterFest and the annual Fire and Ice Art Walk.

Police Sgt. Brian Ross said the high number of tickets was not the result of a special enforcement push, but due to the numerous vehicles parked illegally on Cottage and Union streets.

“People were parking everywhere and anywhere,” he said Monday.

Burns Maxey, coordinator of Easthampton City Arts+, which worked with the Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee to put on the weekend’s festivities, said she heard some vehicles were ticketed but no one had contacted her to complain about it. She said police told her people were parked on sidewalks and in restricted areas.

“It’s a huge undertaking when that many people are out enjoying the evening, but we can’t have people parking in restricted zones,” she said. Even if the legal on-street spots were taken, there was parking available in the municipal lot on Cottage Street and in the Municipal Building parking lot on Payson Avenue, she said.

While Highway Department workers removed large snowbanks on some downtown streets Friday, there was still some snow on the streets that may have made it difficult for drivers to tell where the painted lines designating parking spots were, she said. “It did seem like there were a lot of out-of-towners,” she added.

Maxey said she has been talking to other city officials about getting additional signs to direct people to parking lots. “We want to be as amenable to visitors as possible,” she said.

Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee member Elizabeth Provo said Monday she had not heard about the ticketing but agreed that there were many people downtown for the events, which ranged from ice and snow carving to art exhibits and performances.

Illegal parking tickets in Easthampton carry a $20 fine. The tickets Saturday were issued between 6 and 10:15 p.m. Fourteen were written on Cottage Street, two on Main Street, and one each on Union and Chapel streets.

Three tickets were also issued on Friday night between 8:39 and 10 p.m. in the area of 70 to 82 Cottage St. During a parking ban for snow removal from Friday at 11 p.m. and Saturday at 7 a.m., five cars were towed from Main, Pleasant, and High streets and Chapman Avenue.

Parking is prohibited on city streets between 1 and 6 a.m. from Nov. 1 to April 1.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.