City of Johnston Reminding Residents to Keep Cars off of Streets to Make Room for Plow Trucks

JOHNSTON, Iowa -- With one snow storm down and another still on the way, a reminder for drivers: keep your cars off of city streets when it's snowing out. After Monday's snowfall wreaked havoc on the roads, Johnston officials want to remind residents to move their cars to make room on city streets for snow plows. If snow plows can't get by, neither can emergency vehicles.

"The last two winters we have had light winters," said Public Works Superintendent Brian Wilson. "They`re not used to the routine of keeping the vehicles off the road. I think it’s just we got to get readjusted and learn it again."

WHO-TV Channel 13 News tagged along with Wilson on Thursday afternoon to get a first hand look at the problem plow trucks are encountering.

"Every time we come upon a vehicle that`s parked in the street, we have to stop, pick up this plow right here," said Wilson. "It takes a little bit of time. Numerous vehicles, you`re doing that every so often. Then, we have to go back and clean up the mess that`s left from plowing around the car, because that becomes a road hazard."

Our cameras captured several vehicles parked on city streets.

"We came up on a, there was a vehicle parked on a residential street," said Wilson. "You could see it as we come up. We knew we were gonna have to stop, pick the wing up, slowly advance around the vehicle, take time to get your wing back down on the ground. We went another couple houses, here`s an additional vehicle, we had to pick the wing up again, and the same process. And if it`s multiple vehicles down a roadway, it`s very time consuming."

Parking in the street during a snowfall event can get you a citation.

"Our snow ordinance and our city code states that there is a $25 parking fine for parking in the street," said Public Works Director Matt Greiner.

Local resident Mark Callen thinks it's reasonable for the city to ask folks to keep their cars off the streets.

"Yeah I think when we`re getting a big snowstorm, you know, I think it's only wise that we try and get the roads as clear as possible," said Callen. "Most people have enough room, if they only have a couple vehicles, (they) can put them in their driveway for the night and move them out the next day, after the snow`s cleared out. I think that’s a reasonable expectation."