County and City of Grand Marais Consider Seasonal Calendar Parking Ordinance
Apr 11, 2019 04:21PM
Media Release from Cook County MN and the City of Grand Marais - April 11, 2019
Vehicles parked on-street regularly conflict with efficient snow removal, impeding traffic and contributing to the development of unsafe winter road conditions. City of Grand Marais and Cook County are considering strategies to manage on-street vehicle parking, including seasonal calendar parking and snow emergency declarations.
If calendar parking is implemented, vehicles must be parked on the “odd” side of the street (odd-numbered street address side) on the odd-numbered days of the month, and on the “even” side of the street (even-numbered address side) on the even-numbered days of the month from November through April.
Many cities regulate parking as a strategy to support snow removal operations. Where a calendar parking system exists, agencies can typically plow a street to its full-width within two days of most snowstorms. Currently, there are some locations that are not fully plowed for days or weeks after the snow stops because cars or trailers are left on the road for extended periods of time. The Cook County Highway Department ordinarily plows many streets in Grand Marais. Additionally, emergency vehicle response time is a concern when roads cannot be plowed efficiently. Plowing around parked vehicles or the inability to plow certain streets (when vehicles are parked on both sides of narrow roads) is a challenge shared by the County and City road maintenance crews.
How Will it Be Enforced?
Under the Ordinance, and in accordance with the guidelines in Minnesota Statute 168B.035, vehicles parked contrary to the seasonal restrictions may be towed. However, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office encourages voluntary compliance. First, Cook County plans to offer windshield-style reminders at the beginning of each snow season. Second, someone will attempt to get in touch with the driver of a vehicle before a tow truck is called when towing is necessary. The County’s towing contractor does not have the authority to tow a vehicle unless requested by the Sheriff’s Office, and the Cook County Highway Department does not plan to contact the Sheriff’s Office unless a vehicle impedes snow removal, emergency vehicles or sanding operations.
Overnight Parking Downtown Grand Marais
The downtown streets differ from the residential neighborhood because snow must be hauled away from the downtown zone. Overnight on-street parking in downtown Grand Marais, an area where road crews regularly utilize loaders to plow and remove snow from parking areas, would be banned until 7:00 a.m., so these roads can be plowed on the first day of a snowstorm before most businesses open for the day.
Why Isn’t Calendar Parking Implemented Year-round?
Grand Marais needs as much parking as possible during the tourism months. The objective of calendar parking is improving the efficiency of snowplowing operations, summertime traffic does not need to be unnecessarily restricted. Cars parked on both sides of roads creates more challenges for road maintenance vehicles and emergency access during snowy months.
I Operate a Lodging Property, What Should I Do?
Signs will be installed at city limits to alert visitors of the calendar parking ordinance. We also suggest including a paragraph in your home instructions for your guests:
“The City of Grand Marais requires calendar parking between November 1 and April 30 to facilitate snowplowing operations. Parking is permitted on the odd side of the street on odd days of the month or the even side of the street on even dates. Cars should be moved between the hours of 7 pm and midnight to the proper side of the street for the following day. Please be aware that your vehicle may be towed the following day if you are parked on the wrong side of the street. If your vehicle is towed, call [insert towing company’s phone number].
On March 13, 2019, Cook County Highway Engineer Krysten Foster made an introductory presentation to the Grand Marais City Council which can be viewed at bit.ly/calendarparking
This initiative will be brought back to Grand Marais City Council in late April or early May, for further action. Watch for more information. For any questions, please call City of Grand Marais 218-387-1848.
City of Grand Marais - Patrick Knight, Communications Director, 218-387-1848 or [email protected]
Cook County - Valerie Marasco, Director – Emergency Management & Public Information
218-387-5366 or [email protected]