Prepare yourself. These are words so terrifying, so clobberingly fearful, I’m knocking on wood in the mere anticipation of typing them.
HRM’s winter parking ban.
Shhhh! Not too loud, please. Just mumble, if you’re reading aloud, lest the evil god of the season unleash his white wrath upon us again. (It could happen. More snow, I mean. It could come in fuckin’ May, killing crocuses and stomping on our spirits like a cantankerous, hemp-vested giant.)
I’ve been ducking and cowering every time the parking ban has crossed my mind this winter. Which is to say, every time the snow has flown since it all started for us back on November 10. Yes. That long ago. Believe it.
Today I’m even more superstitious, because of what I’ve dared to dream, what I’m about to spill before you here: I think we’re in the clear.
We’ve managed to go a whole winter without the city pooh-poohing our parking fancies. We’ve survived a near five months of snow without any of us even once bolting upright in bed at 1am thinking: “Holy flapjacks! Did I move the car?!” We can now breathe a sigh of relief, as designated drivers the city over haul their three-sheets-to-the-wind buddies home without worrying about a car curfew. We poor downtown saps with more Irving credit- card debt than brains---the ones who bought cars without first making sure our houses and flats had driveways. Doh!---won’t feel the icy grip of the parking ban this year.
Yes, as improbable as it might sound, we appear to have reached the end of our long winter’s slog without having to deal with finding a hiding spot for our cars “each night from 1:00am to 7:00am until March 31, 2008 regardless of weather conditions”----even if it’s 15 degrees above and the chamomile has sprouted from the sidewalk cracks and face-down bare-breasted 20-year-olds are kickin’ it old-school on Citadel Hill. People, we have made it.
Now can I get a Hallelujah, please and thank you, before I crush you with the rest of this column? Wherein our hero writer regales you with her fanciful notion that the city was playing nicey-nice and that this was an act of heartfelt moderation in the face of a most-detested bylaw-of-whim.
See, it wasn’t temperance that stayed the almighty MOVETH THINE CAR! dictum from city hall, but, sigh, weather.
“It would snow and then it would turn to freezing rain and then to rain,” says John O’Brien, HRM’s corporate communications officer. “Although we had a lot of snow, there wasn’t a lot of accumulated snow.
“But ultimately, it’s at the discretion of Ken Reashor.”
Who the Dickens is Ken Reashor?
Ken Reashor is the Traffic Authority. No, no. Literally. It’s part of his duties as manager of traffic and right-of-way services. “I am the Traffic Authority,” he says. And you’ll be pleased to know he’s willing to have a little chuckle at the title.
What might also make you happy, if, say, you need to park on the street after 1am? Reashor’s a flexible guy when it comes to giving his say-so on the implementation of the Urban Core Overnight Winter Parking Ban.
“We try not to do it up until Christmas,” he says.
“We don’t do it if the storm happens during the day. We try to give the guys a chance to get out there and clean first,” he says.
“We generally don’t put it on at the first storm,” he says, too, because that time the snow usually doesn’t stick around and makea muss.
Still, the to-the-nut factor that turns on the ban has nothing to do with council’s polite requests to be accommodating, nor the wailing of the downtown driveway-less. It’s not really about Christmas or the first snowfall or whether the storm happens at 9am ona Monday.
It all comes down to the long-range forecast. “You have to see a long-term impact from snow,” Reashor says. And this year, even though winter has had us shovelling like we’re digging our own graves, in Reashor’s words, “We kept having short duration snow situations and heavy rain...that took the snow away.
“Every time it was, well, no, not this time.”
That’s what got us through winter parking ban-free. A little serendipitous rain.
“As for next year,” Reashor says, “I can’t really say what will happen.”
Seven months until the terror returns.
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