The Wilkes-Barre Code of Ordinances says don’t put anything in the street to save the parking spot you spent all day shoveling clean.
But the threat of a ticket and fine up to $500 hasn’t stopped the practice of residents staking claims to patches of pavement they’ve cleared of snow. A drive through the city is proof with the number of chairs, garbage cans, cones and buckets lining the streets.
Sheldon Baboolal, 44, was out Friday afternoon with a shovel in front of his residence on Jones Street. He’s protecting two spaces earned through four or five hours of sweat equity.
“Since the snow day I’ve been cleaning up,” Baboolal said.
More snow was forecast for the weekend and Baboolal said he would be back out, adding to the mound made from the nearly two feet Winter Storm Stella left Tuesday. “I still got to keep it clean,” he said.
He hadn’t put his cones out yet, but would mark his spots off limits, especially to patrons of a bar on nearby Brown Street.
Sorry, but they have as much claim to the spots as Baboolal, according to City Administrator Ted Wampole.
“There’s no right to a parking spot. There is common courtesy,” Wampole said.
People should show courtesy and not pull into spots cleared by residents, he said.
Wilkes-Barre Police Department Chief Marcella Lendacky echoed Wampole’s comment, saying, “People should be respectful of their neighbors.”
Officers have the authority to write tickets because the obstructions in the roadway could cause an accident. But it hasn’t come to that yet. “We really don’t want to have to go there,” Lendacky said.
She was going to post a notice on the police department’s Facebook page reminding residents of the ordinance and to avoid shoveling snow in the roadway as well.
Across the Susquehanna River police will remove a parking spot marker from the street, said Kingston Administrator Paul Keating. There’s no ordinance, but residents are not to block the roadway with any type of object, he said.
In his travels through the municipality since the storm Keating said he has seen a few chairs in spots.
“That has not been a problem. I have not had a call,” he said. Instead, the complaints have been about snow removal.
Wilkes-Barre’s had them too from some of the residents in the 500 block of Madison Street where Gregory Falzone lives.
The one-way street still had some snow on it Friday and buried vehicles.
Falzone, 32, didn’t waste any time digging out after returning from vacation in Tampa, Fla.
“I completely missed the storm, but not all the clean up,” he said.
One of his two parking spots has handicapped signs, and he was working on that one. The other could wait, he said.
Falzone doesn’t have to mark his handicapped spot, but even with the signs people attending a nearby church try to pull in it.
“If somebody parks in my spot, I’ll come right out and tell them to move it or it’s going to be towed,” he said.