Burlington parking ban enforcement confounds some car owners

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Burlington Police officials say they do their best to make drivers aware of parking bans, but each time it snows dozens of violators get towed. Our Neliana Ferraro found out what happens the next day when drivers go looking for their cars.

It's something dozens of drivers experience each time there's a winter storm in Burlington.

"I just walked out of my office expecting to drive home and there was no car," said car owner Skylar Bagdon. "I just was working late, because that's when I had time, so it didn't even occur to me that it had gotten past the parking ban time."

As crews work to clear the snow, public works and the police team up to make sure people follow the parking ban.

Bagdon ended up having to walk half a mile home at 1 a.m. and ubered back Wednesday afternoon to clear his car.

He also picked up a parking ticket to the tune of $125. But his car was not impounded at Spillane's Towing in South Burlington.

When we asked to speak with someone at the towing company, they said they don't talk to the media, but did say most cars don't end up in their lot. Most of them end up at what public works calls a drop-off point, like the one by the A_Dog Skatepark near the waterfront. It turns out you only get impounded if you have existing fines or are a repeat offender, something that can cause some confusion.

"It's crazy, not having someone here," said one driver looking for his car Wednesday.

There are only three parking enforcement workers and they work overnight to enforce the parking ban. So when one man from out of town came looking for his car, he found the parking office closed. Luckily, a former parking employee was passing by and knew where the list of locations was.

The police chief's assistant says there's just not enough staff to handle enforcement at night and towing questions during the day.

The parking ban goes into effect again Wednesday night at 10 p.m. Drivers can park in one of the three city-owned garages.