Approximately 60 cars were ticketed and towed overnight as snowplows were out clearing streets in Saint John.

The city declared an overnight parking ban Tuesday for the north, east and west areas of the city to allow for snow removal.

It went into effect at midnight, and lasted until 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Drivers who disobeyed the parking rule now have to shell out approximately $125 in fines, towing costs and impound fees.

Sgt. Jeff LaFrance, the h​ead of the Saint John Police traffic division, said he is surprised at the high number of snow ban violations.

"Maybe they did more streets, maybe they had a bigger crew out. We are getting some snow accumulation so they've got to keep it clean," LaFrance said.

"Having all those cars towed takes time, which reduces the ability of the crews to clear the snow quickly. If everybody abided by the rule, I'm sure the crews could have the streets opened up faster and do more streets in the run of an evening than what was done last night."

'Most of the time there's an understanding that they did something they weren't supposed to do and they've got to pay for it.' - Rob MacLean, owner, Loyalist City Towing

The temporary snow ban in the north, east and west sides of the city is new for this year.

The old parking ban used to go into effect on Dec. 1 and end on March 31, and included a long list of excluded streets.

Motorists now leave their cars on the street year-round except during special snow-bans that are declared during storms. People who rely on on-street parking were encouraged to make alternate off-street parking arrangements ahead of the first snowfall.

A snow-ban bylaw is already in place for the central peninsula.

LaFrance regards the strict rule as a necessary evil.

"You've got to have open streets for emergency response," he said.

"You can't operate a city with single lane streets narrowed down by people's cars parked on the street."

Providing a service

The cars were sent to the Loyalist City Towing impound lot.

Owner Rob MacLean says most people "were decent enough" when they came to pick up their cars Wednesday morning.

"It's a small percentage of people that throw their frustration at us," said MacLean.

"They're upset they have to spend $100 to get their car back but most of the time there's an understanding that they did something they weren't supposed to do and they've got to pay for it."

MacLean says his crews are providing a needed service to the city.

"I don't want to have send my guys out and have them work all night … so it's not something I cherish," he said.

"It's not a money grab, I have to make my guys work all night, then they have to go home for an hour of sleep and come back in."

To find out whether a temporary overnight parking ban has been declared, residents are asked to call the city's snow parking ban recorded information line after 4 p.m., at 658-4040, or to visit the city's website.