A driver, looking for a parking space, passes by two unusable corner spaces in the Church Street lot on Tuesday. Chance Viles / American Journal

WESTBROOK — Snow parking ban changes are coming to the two Church Street lots, the CVS lot and the Ash Street lot.

Residents who need to get their vehicles off city streets overnight during a wintertime parking ban previously were allowed to park anywhere in those four lots. But starting Feb. 24, they will be allowed to leave their cars in the lots only in specified “green zones.” Each lot will have roughly 50 spaces in their green zones.

The new restrictions will ultimately preserve more parking spots during the winter, said City Economic Development Coordinator Dan Stevenson.

“Last snowstorm the Mechanic Street (CVS) lot lost over 54% of parking spaces following the storm,” Stevenson said.

That’s because when people park overnight, plows and wind create snowbanks around their cars. If the car remains parked through the morning, plows can’t do anything about the surrounding snowbanks. Those snowbanks usually end up freezing, making the space unusable even after the car has left. The icy banks can damage plows.

At the Mechanic Street lot, for example, 73 of the 143 spaces were unusable for days after a mid-January storm due to those icy banks, Stevenson said.

Family Dollar has been impacted by the problem and welcomes the changes, said Assistant Manager Tammy Reynolds.

“I know that parking lot has been so full people can’t come in and shop, and people have complained about it,” she said.

Under the new rules, people will have to move their cars out of the green zones the morning following a ban so plows can tackle the green zones before they freeze over.

“Another important thing to note is that if your car has commercial plates, you will get towed if you park in these lots overnight,” Stevenson said.

Green signs will designate the parking areas, and Stevenson and his team are leafleting businesses downtown about the change.

Parking changes will take effect Feb. 24. Signs will be installed within the next few weeks designating the green zones. Stevenson will give a presentation on the changes to the public at the Walker Memorial Library from 10-11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19.

A bird’s eye view of the lots affected by the ban. The green highlighted areas are the new green zones. Courtesy photo

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