Parking rule could lead to drunk driving

City lawmakers should consider removing ban of overnight parking for safety reasons

It’s all fun and games until someone decides to drive home.

In the City of Whitewater, it is illegal to park on city streets from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. from Nov. 1 to March 31 every year.

In theory, these winter guidelines make sense. If there is snow overnight or early in the morning, it makes sense to ensure the streets are clear of cars so that plow trucks can quickly and effectively do their jobs.

It sounds simple and logical until you factor in the numerous bars and drinking establishments open for business in the city — or even the drinking culture of an American college campus like the one we know and love in our city.

Whether we want to admit it or not, people in Whitewater like to drink. We have some awesome bar specials that students and community members alike enjoy taking advantage of throughout the weekend.

So how in the world does it make sense to prohibit street parking starting at bar close?

Yes, of course, we can admit to the fact that drinking is 100 percent an optional activity and that anyone who chooses to drink should do so while remaining responsible for his or her own actions, but it’s not always that simple.

Sometimes you’re getting off work at 11 p.m. and are going to meet your friends for just one beer. Sometimes you go over to a friend’s house for a movie night, and before you know it an entire bottle of wine is gone. Sometimes you run into an old friend at a bar and they buy you a few shots and a drink.

It’s happened to everyone at some point. You didn’t plan to drink or  get drunk, but plans changed, and then you’re drunk and unable to drive home. The smart thing to do is stay at that friend’s house, or walk from the bars to the house of someone nearby.

The only problem is, if you leave your car parked on the street overnight you’re going to get a ticket. Or worse, if you leave it in the parking lot of certain apartment complexes you’re going to get towed.

That leaves a person with two options. They can leave the car parked on city streets overnight, and pay a parking ticket for choosing to do the safe thing and leave the car. Or they can drive home after they’ve been drinking and put their own lives (and others) at risk.

Hopefully we can all agree that we’d rather not have anyone driving drunk.

While the problem is evident, the solution is not as clear cut. The regulations can be useful for snow removal, but hazardous to the large population of legal drinkers in Whitewater.

Perhaps a change to the parking regulations, specifically on popular bar nights in town like Wednesdays or Thursdays for All You Can Drink, could allow overnight parking on those nights.

Seeing city lawmakers show an interest in the safety of the students who make up a large part of the population by allowing something as simple as overnight street parking on popular bar nights would make a huge impact on the peace of mind of students who would like to responsibly enjoy the culture of college.