Since snow removal crews have had the chance to make the rounds clearing city streets, the Duluth Police Department is no longer responding with leniency to vehicles in violation of the alternate-side parking law.
On Monday, the police department's parking services division issued citations to 119 vehicles not adhering to the alternate-side parking rule.
Early Monday morning Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken posted on his official Facebook page letting people know police would be out citing violators and requesting vehicle removals in order to allow plows to continue clearing streets of snow.
"We take no pleasure in tagging and towing so please help us by complying with calendar parking laws," Tusken said in the post.
Parking operations manager Mark Bauer said he thinks that post, which had 230 shares as of Wednesday afternoon, led people to act.
"We did not experience as great a number of problems with parking after that because I think people saw it and reacted and helped us out," Bauer said.
The city tends to be more lenient on ticketing the first two to three days after a big snow event, Bauer said. While parking services' main priority is maintaining public safety and access, the city is also obligated to be understanding of what people can and can't do when streets and vehicles are buried in snow.
"Our ticketing didn't really reach that level that we saw earlier this week and late last week until we were relativity confident there were options for folks to move their cars," Bauer said.
Parking services spent Monday responding to areas where the snow removal crews reported parked vehicles prohibited them from clearing streets. Parking services is still patrolling, Bauer said Wednesday, but the number of parking violations has slowed down.
Vehicles should be parked on the side of the street with even-numbered house numbers this week until Sunday. The appropriate side changes weekly, with vehicles switching sides every Sunday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The city had one vehicle towed Monday because it was blocking access to a driveway and issued other parking citations not related to alternate-side parking.
Only in instances when a parked vehicle is causing a major public access or public safety issue will the city request the vehicle to be towed.
Bauer said that contrary to a common misconception, parking services isn't trying to meet any sort of "quota."
"We don't get any kind of a bonus for towing more vehicles or ticketing more vehicles," Bauer said. "Everything we do is geared toward those goals of safety and access."
Parking services is also citing vehicles not adhering to the 24-hour rule, which requires vehicles parked on the street to move every 24 hours year-round.
The 24-hour ordinance, which has been around in some form since the 1950s, is in place for a few reasons, Bauer said, one of which is to ensure parking turnover occurs, making off-street parking regularly available to the public. The ordinance is also intended to help out snow removal crews.
When enforcing the ordinance, the city typically relies on receiving complaints, as parking services doesn't have the staff to actively monitor for cars that are parked on the street for longer than 24 hours.
However, parking services is looking for such vehicles in key areas that need to be plowed, Bauer said.
"It’s pretty evident right now if somebody hasn’t been moving," Bauer said. "Their car is covered with snow."