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City of Bozeman increases efforts to remove idle cars blocking snow plows and emergency vehicles

Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 12:56:24-05

BOZEMAN — It’s not uncommon to be driving down Bozeman and see cars parked along the street, but the problem comes when cars are parked for an extended period of time.

“It’s certainly a problem," said Mike Veselik, Interim Parking Manager for the City of Bozeman. "We see it every winter. We see it anytime there’s a snowfall. It’s not fun to go out and clean off your car when it’s negative 20 outside. That’s not a fun time, but it is critically important.”

So important the city has decided to increase efforts to remove vehicles off the street for snowplows and emergency vehicles.

“We got a new interpretation from legal on how fast we can pull these vehicles from the street," said Veselik. "Previously, we had done them under our 72-hour Abandoned Vehicle process, but we have since realized this is much more of a safety concern.”

That legal interpretation allows the city to remove vehicles that have been idly parked on the street from 72 hours to now 48 hours.

“The 72-hour process is still in place," said Veselik. "This is an additional process on top of that, and this is only for the vehicles that are snow lumps. You know, it’s not for the car that’s been sitting for one snowstorm, but for the car that’s been sitting for 5 snowstorms.”

The updated process is not just to help out snowplows, but emergency vehicles as well.

“Imagine you call 911 for your family, and an ambulance is trying to get there and it can’t get through because of snow buildup on your street," Veselik said. "Imagine what that’s like for you and your loved one. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep those streets clear, so that ambulances, fire trucks, police officers can get to their calls and do their jobs.”

The city does have a place for residents or express their disagreement here.