Ask an Official: MPD Chief explains winter parking restrictions
This week’s featured question was submitted for Merrill Police Chief Corey Bennett
The question reads:
“When do we have to start parking off the street by? Just curious why we have to do this. I mean I get the snow plows have to have room to move snow, but why is the off street parking thing a rule all winter long instead of just on nights it is supposed to snow? Has this always been a rule in the winter all winter long? Or is it something kinda new?”
Answer as given Chief Bennett:
“Thank you for the question. Winter parking rules seem to have always been a source of some friction in Merrill despite the fact these rules have been around for a very long time. Usually a simple conversation solves most misunderstandings as to why these rules are necessary. Since the question is directed at only the overnight parking rules, I will try to keep the answer confined to that subject.
“Sec. 36-85. – Winter parking restrictions: (c)Winter night parking restricted. It shall be unlawful for any person to park any vehicle on any city street or traveled right-of-way from December 1 to March 31, inclusive, between the hours of 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
“This rule is in place largely due to snow plowing and removal operations. Most city-wide plowing occurs overnight when less traffic is motoring on the roadways. Having completely cleared roads allows the Street Dept. to make more efficient and effective passes with the plows. This isn’t just confined to after snow storms have occurred. Snow removal operations occur when the curbside snow piles are getting too high or wide. You may not have noticed, but during winter months the snow piles actually narrow our streets little by little. This is another reason why we have odd/even parking in winter during the remaining hours mentioned above.
“For the most part we try to enforce these winter parking rules during the stated time period. We do this so there is a bright line and we do not inadvertently encourage violations or non-compliant behavior. Unfortunately, a single vehicle left on the road creates a problem much larger than the parking citation we will issue. As the plow works around the parked vehicle, they leave a strip of piled snow around it on the roadway creating a potential road obstruction and more work for later. In such instances we will usually write a parking citation but may also have the vehicle removed by a tow truck. The vehicle owner is responsible for the tow bill and storage fees that follow. We have been known to make exceptions under special circumstances. However, the owner of the vehicle will always be on-call in case the vehicle needs to be moved.”
“I hope that clarifies some of the subject. If not, feel free to give us a call.” (715) 536-8311.
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