Winters police restart downtown parking enforcement this week

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FILE: A public parking sign along Abbey Street in Winters.

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On Monday, Winters Police Department announced it would begin issuing warnings for a week as it begins enforcing parking-related violations in the Downtown area.

Winters Police Department initially rolled out efforts to enforce the timed parking spot limits in May 2019. The new parking rules were passed by city officials in 2018 following the release of the Downtown Parking Master Plan.

One of the notable aspects of the Downtown parking plan was the approval of incorporating timed parking limitations in front of many downtown area businesses. The majority of spots have a two-hour time limitation, however, there are some key parking spots in front of businesses that are labeled with 30-minute time limits. Signage informs drivers of the time limits for the specified parking areas. Violating the time limit will result in a parking citation — which comes with a $30 fine for most offenses. Intentionally removing a tire chalk mark made by Winters PD or illegally parking in a handicapped spot costs more.

Winters Police Chief John P. Miller told the Express  that “during COVID, parking enforcement of the time zones was re-prioritized to ‘extremely low’ so no enforcement was taking place.” 

According to Miller, city officials began having discussions to reinstate parking enforcement came about as COVID health restrictions were lifted.

“Regardless of our enforcement efforts, or lack thereof, the time zones were never waived and it was never legal to park for more than two hours, as posted, and a few citations were issued,” Miller said.

Another piece to reinstate enforcing the timed parking limits came when Winters PD made the part-time Community Service Officer position full-time. The CSO position is responsible for parking enforcement and vehicle abatement.

Miller said during the initial parking study, it was discovered most of the vehicles parked downtown for extended periods of the time belonged to employees. Due to the lack of parking turnover, customers and visitors did not have adequate parking spaces.

Downtown business employees are encouraged to park in one of the city-owned parking lots that do not have time limits:

  • Winters Community Center
  • Northeast corner of Railroad Avenue and Main Street (by Steady Eddy’s Coffee House)
  • Southeast corner of Abbey Street and First Street (behind Hotel Winters)

Winters PD will continue to issue warnings this week and is expected to begin issuing parking citations next week.

The final draft of the City of Winters Parking Master Plan can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/5bnrt79z.

In a social media post, Winters PD shared the Winters Parking Plan study at https://tinyurl.com/59827eaw.

Questions can be directed to Winters PD at 530-795-2261.

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