WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield’s town council banned street parking during snow emergencies and made it illegal to blow or shovel snow into a plowed street with a final vote Tuesday night that changed parts of ordinance No. 2070.
Parking is now banned on any street in Westfield when three or more inches of snow have fallen until snowfall stops and the entire width of the road has been plowed, according to these changes, which were approved unanimously by the council.
The reasoning behind the new rules was discussed in depth at a town council conference meeting in October. Until now, parking was prohibited only “on a handful” of streets in town during a snowstorm, Town Administrator Jim Gildea said at that meeting.
The changes were inspired by the snow report created after 2016’s blizzard, Gildea said. The penalty for breaking the rules could be a fine of up to $150, he explained.
“The public works committee, the public safety committee and the code review and town property committee have all weighed in on this,” Gildea said. "We got a lot of public feedback."
The changes to the law have been discussed over the years, Councilman Sam Della Fera said.
“I think the blizzard this year was the tipping point,” Della Fera said. “Other towns do it — prohibit parking on streets during snowstorms — and this would bring Westfield into that arena. It is a culture change, but I think that once people get used to it they’ll be very pleased with the widely plowed streets. And I know I get frustrated all the time when I see residents throwing snow into a freshly plowed street, and again, over the years I’ve been contacted by residents who say we should prohibit that and, again, I think that this year’s blizzard was the tipping point.”
Both Della Fera and Gildea acknowledged that the new rules require a “culture change.”
“We’re going to give it a shot,” Delle Fera said. “Nothing is ever written in stone, but I think if we give it some time and people get used to whenever possible moving their vehicles off the street and allowing it to be plowed, I think we’re all going to be very pleased with the results.”
Also during Tuesday's meeting, the council passed changes to an ordinance that extends the season for outdoor seating at Westfield restaurants and cafés and prohibits smoking in these areas. To read more about these rules, click here.
Councilman Frank Arena and Councilman Ken Donnelly were absent from Tuesday's meetings.