As winter's first snowstorms blanketed Des Moines, Iowa, in early December, the city issued hundreds of tickets in support of a new law that prohibits parking on certain neighborhood streets until snowplows have cleared the area. The new law, which is similar to an existing law for arterial streets that has been in place for nearly 50 years, intends to allow crews to clear streets faster and more easily.

The new law, which was passed in October, covers 16 of the city's 58 neighborhoods, and states that, from the time snow falls until the city plows the streets, no one may park on the streets. The city passed the law, in part, because it recently switched to new snowplow equipment that includes an extra half-lane plow on the side, making it more difficult to clear smaller streets when cars are parked on the road, says Des Moines Public Works Director Bill Stowe.

There has been some controversy over the new law, Stowe says, despite the fact that the residents of the neighborhoods agreed to it. "It's right out of the blocks, and we've issued 500 tickets," he says.

"No Parking Until Plowed" signs are posted on streets entering neighborhoods participating in the "Snow Ordinance Streets" program, according to a page on the city's website dedicated to the ordinance. Along with consulting the web page, residents of affected neighborhoods can sign up for e-mails or notifications on the social networking website Twitter to learn when the ordinance is in effect.

Vehicles not complying receive a $35 ticket, which can be appealed, according to the website. "Possible parking alternatives include snow routes after they have been plowed, neighbors' driveways (with permission), and parking lots (with permission) such as businesses, schools, churches, parks," the website states.

View the city's snow ordinance website.