The City of New Bedford hauled in more than $100,000 in parking ban violations from the last two snowstorms. You might think Mayor Jon Mitchell would be turning cartwheels, but he's not. Mitchell tells me he is "disappointed" by the lack of respect the snow emergency parking ban gets from many residents.

Mitchell said "the parking ban is not about the money," and he is right. The way I see it, it is a simple matter of self-preservation. In an emergency, I want to be sure that I can get out or help can get in to get me out. It's that simple.

For many years, New Bedford would implement a parking ban when it snowed. A lot of folks ignored it. As a result, maneuvering some of our narrower streets was like trying to navigate a pinball machine. Cars got buried in mounds of snow on both sides. The snowplows were never able to remove all of the snow. As a result, deep ice ruts were commonplace.

Somewhere along the way, one mayor or another decided to enforce the ban by issuing fines, and cars got towed away. That helped to improve compliance. But in recent years, compliance with the law has fallen off again. Many people seem to be content to receive a $50 fine rather than take the trouble to move their car.

When it snows, everyone should want their street to be passable so that the plows can do a thorough clean-up. Fire apparatus, ambulances, and police vehicles need to traverse the streets to assist residents who might be in danger. For that to happen, residents have to cooperate with the parking ban.

Mitchell said he is disappointed with the lack of compliance by some residents. He is justified in feeling that way.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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