hello? city hall?
the other supremely confusing element of the present snow emergency announcement(s) by the city is that there is (apparently) a delay upon which the actual snow emergency takes place after the announcement, and though you find word at 6pm that a snow emergency has been declared, it's not immediately obvious (though buried in the obfuscating language of the announcement) that the actual emergency itself doesn't go into effect for another six hours. http://www.lowellma.gov/newsitems/20071121-snow-parking-policy/
three points, in case anyone at city hall is listening/reading:
1. if snow emergency parking is not available at the early garage, the web page suggesting it is needs to be changed ASAP. (and if it is available at the early garage, then employees there need to be informed and people let in to park).
2. if snow emergency announcements are made, then they should be made more clearly. if the emergency is "declared" at 6pm, then it's more than a little confusing that it only might "be effective" as of some different hour. (in this case, midnight). my suggestion is leading the announcement not with the time of the announcement, but with the more important time of the actual snow emergency. as in, "tonight's snow emergency begins at midnight--cars can begin to park for free at 6pm, and will be ticketed if left on the street after midnight". or something like that.
3. if snow emergency announcements, declarations and effectiveness should be foreseeable at 6pm the night before a significant storm, having the garages only open at midnight is highly inconvenient to residents, to the point of being ridiculous and more than a little mean-spirited. are people supposed to go to bed, set their alarms for midnight, and then move their cars? really? i'm hoping that the ayotte garage is free starting at 6pm, but it's hard to tell from the online info.
or do i have this all confused? (in which case, see original points about the lack of clarity/veracity of the city web site...)
all we want to know is when and where can we park? and by when do we have to be off the streets so as to avoid tickets and tows?