Ask an Official: Merrill Police Chief discusses off-street parking regulations
This week’s featured question was submitted for Merrill Police Chief Corey Bennett
The question reads:
“When does winter parking rules go into effect and I’ve always been curious why we can’t park on the street even if there is no snow on the ground, or are there exceptions to that? Like say if a person lives in an apartment and there is really no place else to park, would that count for an exception? How does this work on the really narrow side streets? Sometimes it’s hard to get through them even in the summer. I’ve wondered how the city handles that in the winter with piles of snow, people still having to park on the street and so on. Thanks”
Answer as given by Bennett:
“Winter parking restrictions begin December 1 and end on March 31. Of course, winter weather outside of those dates can still initiate a declaration of a snow emergency all the same. Parking on the street contrary to winter parking restrictions seems to be a common inquiry we receive. The simple fact is, especially early in the winter season, we have to promote following these rules so the citizens get in the habit of obeying them. Otherwise when the first snowfall comes we are scrambling to get cars moved or towed (at the owner’s expense) so plows can properly move snow. Regardless of someone’s personal parking situation and number of vehicles they own, they must find off-street parking for overnight hours in the winter. There are simply no exceptions.
“Narrow side streets can be a problem with snow accumulations. This is part of the reason we have odd/even parking restrictions during the daytime winter hours. This allows for passage of vehicle traffic as well as removal of snow on at least one side of the street during the day. As the streets are supposed to be clear overnight, snow removal often takes place then too.
“The best advice we can give is to plan early and make space for your vehicles in your driveways and garages. Get in the habit early of obeying odd/even daytime rules and parking off-street overnight. Our officers can be pretty forgiving at times but we strictly enforce winter parking restrictions to avoid larger problems.”
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