Alderman Jim Kaplan knows firsthand how difficult it is to drive a city snowplow through a street lined on both sides by cars.
As a city employee for 28 years he spent time behind the wheel of a snow plow trying to navigate narrow openings in an effort to keep the roads clear.
"We have so many winter storms where it's impossible to get the streets cleared," Kaplan said.
His solution, along with four other aldermen, is to expand alternate-side parking to seven days a week from Dec. 1 to April 1. Under the current ordinance, alternate-side parking is in effect on weekdays.
Kaplan said enforcing alternate-side parking all winter long will give snow plows more room to clear streets on the weekends, which in turn will lead to wider streets for traffic after snowstorms.
"Alternate-side parking seven days a week during winter will make Racine safer and make the streets wider than they've been," Kaplan said.
The change could also save money because snow plow drivers won't have to make as many passes through city streets on the weekends, Kaplan said. The savings will be an important factor in discussions, he said.
"We just realize for economy's sake we're going to start needing to do things we need to do," Kaplan said. "We can't always do what we want to do."
Aldermen Ron Hart, Aron Wisneski, Q.A. Shakoor II and Ray DeHahn joined with Kaplan in asking the council to consider adding weekends to the city's alternate-side parking ordinance. The proposal was referred to the Public Works Committee Tuesday night for consideration.
Kaplan acknowledged people who rely on street parking would be adversely affected by the change. In particular, he said, people who live in homes or apartments without garages or driveways would see their parking options limited in the winter.
"This makes total sense except for somebody without a driveway," he said.