Not that anyone wants to think about it right now, but winter – and snow – is coming. And when it snows two inches or more this winter, residents of Brookfield will have to park on one side of the street four hours longer than they previously had to do.
On Monday night the Brookfield village board voted 5 to 1, with Trustee Kit Ketchmark dissenting, to require residents to park on one side of the street from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Dec. 1 until March 31 when there is a snowfall of two or more inches.
The old rules required residents to park on one of the street from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. after a two-inch snowfall. The idea behind extending the parking restriction is to give village snowplows a more time to clear the streets.
“There will be a learning curve on this, and there will be bumps along the way, but we will work through it,” said Brookfield Village President Michael Garvey.
The draft ordinance presented to the board Monday had proposed extending the one side of the street parking to 6 p.m., but Trustee Brian Oberhauser’s amendment to extend the rule against parking on both sides of the street to 8 p.m. was approved by a 4 to 2 vote with trustees C.P. Hall and Ketchmark voting no.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays following a snowfall of two inches or greater, residents will only be able to park on the south or east side of their street. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and Sundays after a two inch or more snowfall residents will have to park on the north or west side of their street.
The vote followed an hour-long discussion of parking in Brookfield with Trustee Michael Towner repeating his call for a comprehensive solution and advocating looking at extending the ban against parking on both sides of the street to more streets and making it a year-round rule.
“I think we need a comprehensive parking plan for the entire village,” Towner said.
Towner didn’t think much of the ordinance that was passed, but said that he voted for it as part of an incremental approach to Brookfield’s parking and access issues that Oberhauser favored.
“This is an ordinance meant to appease the public,” Towner said, adding that he hoped the village board will continue to address parking in Brookfield.
Towner said that it was a public safety issue. He said that when cars are parked on both sides of many Brookfield streets, emergency vehicles have a hard time squeezing through and that first responders could lose valuable time that might be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
“It might only be two or three extra minutes for the fire department to get there, but those two or three minutes might be the difference between life and death,” Towner said. “We need not worry as much about parking; we need to worry about public safety.”
Garvey said that he disagreed with Towner that limiting parking to one side of the street would be a realistic or practical option in much of the town.
Towner angrily replied that he thought Garvey did not want to deal with the parking issue because of negative public reaction at a meeting earlier this year.
“You inhibit the discussion,” a visibly angry Towner told Garvey. “That shouldn’t be happening. I think you didn’t want anything to do with the parking situation. You have to stop bullying this board.”
Garvey said he was doing no such thing.
“Please don’t tell me that I’m stifling conversation or stifling debate,” Garvey replied. “I’m voicing my opinion. Please don’t take it personally. I have a right to voice my opinion.”