Curb your enthusiasm: Thaw means more tickets
As the snow, which has become a fixture of Oxford, begins to melt, the community becomes reacquainted with green grass and yellow curbs. According to Oxford Police Department (OPD) sergeant Jon Varley, when snow blankets streets and covers curbs, lines of parking legality are blurred.
"We kind of leave [cars] alone if the curbs are covered," Varley said, confirming the suspicions of many Oxford residents.
While snowy roads may incentivize drivers to more strictly obey traffic laws, such as the posted speed limit, they also encourage a bending of parking regulation.
"We don't expect people to dig through the snow to check [for yellow curbs]," Varley said. "However, once the snow starts melting and the curb becomes fairly visible, it's all fair game."
Students and residents alike have noticed more cars than usual lining their street, when all curbs are white.
"[Drivers] tend to know we're not going to enforce the yellow zones as strictly because of the snow," Varley said. "I think there are people out there who will take advantage of this: people who live in the area and know this curb is actually yellow, but will park there because it's not visible."
Some may lament and say they have received a citation while parked alongside a snow-covered curb.
"If [the police] are going to hold us accountable for parking in these areas, then they should be responsible for cleaning the streets properly," sophomore Reis Thebault said.
Thebault was recently given a ticket for a yellow zone violation by the Miami University Police Department, though he said the curb was completely disguised by snow.
"Just because the curb is covered doesn't mean you can't be cited for another violation," Varley said.
There are regulations restricting proximity to driveways and fire hydrants that should be observed regardless of whether one can see the color of the curb, Varley said.
"If you park so badly that you should have known better, you'll get ticketed," Varley said, adding parking services makes a certain value judgment when considering how a car is parked in snowy conditions. "There's [usually] another violation, beyond the curb, that will fit your offense."
Despite the vast number of drivers who do, in fact, know better, OPD leans toward giving drivers the benefit of the doubt, Varley said.
So, as the seasons change and the parking free-for-all dies down, drivers will again be remanded to gray curbs.
"[Drivers] usually don't check on their vehicle when the snow melts," Varley said. "So they'll get a citation anyway."
This, coupled with the warmer temperatures that brought about the melt, may even incentivize students to forget their vehicles and walk.
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