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The City Journals

South Jordan finds even-keeled solution for snow parking confusion

Jan 11, 2021 12:06PM ● By Mariden Williams

South Jordan’s Public Works department hopes that the new snow parking ordinance will be easier for residents to understand and follow. (Mariden Williams)

By Mariden Williams | [email protected].com

The rules for snow parking in South Jordan have changed. In the event of a snowstorm, all residents must park their cars on the side of the street with even house numbers, so there will be enough room for the snowplows to come by and clear the roads. This was decided by a unanimous City Council vote Dec. 2.  

"On the side with house numbers that are even, that's where cars park during a snowstorm,” said South Jordan Public Works Director Jason Rasmussen. “This will allow the east and, most importantly, the north side of streets to be cleared. And then when the plowing is over and the storm is over, cars can go and park where they may, and the plow trucks can continue to clean up. This gets all the cars off one side of the road, and we get two full lanes cleared from snow." 

Previously, the snow parking ordinance was more complicated: which side of the street residents were meant to park on changed based on the date. On odd-numbered dates—the 3rd or 7th of a month, for example—residents would park on the odd-numbered side of the street, and on even-numbered dates, they would park on the even-numbered side instead. This resulted in a lot of confusion.

"We heard back from residents that the [previous ordinance] just wasn't easy to remember, and it was cumbersome to follow,” Rasmussen said. “So there was some room for improvement there. They also asked for more education and enforcement, which we have a plan for." 

The new, simpler ordinance was developed following a citywide poll, and a public strategy meeting held in September. The strategy meeting had low public turnout, but the poll garnered more than 700 responses, most of them from the western side of the city. The most popular option on the survey was to just pick one side of the road to park on regardless of the date, so that's exactly what the Public Works Department did. 

"One of the one of the strong messages that came from the virtual meeting from residents, was that we need to keep it simple,” Rasmussen said. “So we've tried to do that as much as possible." 

The trouble with simplicity, though, is that it leaves out some important details. So there are exceptions to the new rule, particularly in the Daybreak development, which teems with no-parking zones. If the even side of your street is a no-parking zone, you can park on the odd side of the street instead.

"As much as I'd like to have no exceptions, and just have it very straightforward, I felt like there needs to be some exceptions to account for the situation up there," Rasmussen said. "Residents just said they have more cars than can fit in their garage. In Daybreak, there's not a lot of houses with driveways; there's a few, but not a lot. So you're either parked in your garage, or you're parked on the street, for the majority of the homes. So to make as much parking available as possible, the new code says that if there's no parking for a ways on the allowable side of the road, or the even side, cars can park on the opposite side."

City leaders are planning to do extensive public outreach to educate residents about the new ordinance. Now that it's passed, residents can expect to find fliers about it in their emails, on their front doors or even directly on the windshields of street-parked cars. 

"I have to admit, there's no perfect solution,” Rasmussen said. “There is no perfect ordinance for this situation. But I think this proposition is better than our [previous] one. We're just dealing with some elements here that are unique, and we're trying to do our best with them."