EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

February 10, 2013

Patrick's travel ban controversial, but effective

Area police officials credit the governor's threat with being a great deterrent to travel

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“It was a virtual tour of the city,” Solomon said. “People saw how bad things were and they would stay at home. They got the feeling of being out there without having to leave their house to satisfy their curiosity,” he said.

North Andover Police Chief Paul Gallagher credited the governor’s ban with “making a big difference” in enabling the town’s Department of Public Works to clear the roads without any problems while minimizing any potentially dangerous traffic situations.

“The public was excellent and the compliance was very good,” Chief Gallagher said.

“Everything went very well during the storm. There were no accidents, no people on the roadway and everybody was safe. The way I perceived it, the ban was to keep the public safe during the time frame. I don’t think the $500 fine or any jail time was the main purpose of the ban,” Gallagher said.

“We weren’t pushing for any criminal action. Even if we stopped someone, we gave them a verbal warning. I don’t think we had problems any way. There were no parking violations and everybody abided by the travel ban,” he said.

Lawrence Police didn’t cite anyone for violating the travel ban, though a few drivers may have been warned, according to Detective Thomas Cuddy.

“I think the ban was a necessary thing,” Cuddy said.

“Clearing the roadways is paramount. You have to let the DPW crews do their job and allowing them to do their job allows emergency personnel to respond as needed. There were 46 cars towed as part of the parking ban. To the best of our knowledge, nobody was cited for driving during the restricted hours,” he said.

Yesterday, the governor stood by his decision to issue the ban, noting that emergency crews only had to rescue a few dozen stranded drivers.

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