Brooklyn Center Suspends Towing During Snow Emergencies
Most local cities have a rule in place that forbids parking on public streets when there is measurable snowfall. Anyone in violation could have their cars towed.
But this winter, the city of Brooklyn Center decided not to enforce that rule during snow emergencies. City officials say the rule disproportionately impacts communities of color who would have to pay hefty fines to get their cars from the impound lot. Now, there’s talk of making that rule permanent.
“When you tow a vehicle that a family depends on to go to work, if they have a job in this pandemic, and to go to the grocery store, you’re really setting them back, and really causing a lot of instability in families,” said Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott.
The city passed an ordinance in 2018 that if it snows more than two and a half inches, there is to be no on-street parking until roads are plowed curb to curb.
Anyone violating this rule could be fined or towed.
Pandemic Factored into Decision
But with the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brooklyn Center City Council decided in late December to suspend enforcement.
One of the consequences of the decision is it prevents roads from being fully plowed, which narrows residential streets.
Elliott, however, says the city doesn’t plan to just let cars sit there all winter. They’ll knock on people’s doors to get them to move their vehicles if they have to.
“What we’re going to do is really invest in this issue and try and resolve it in a way that’s going to work out best for clearing the streets, and for making sure that people can continue to keep their vehicles,” Elliott said.
Meanwhile, Elliott says the city could come up with a better alert system to let people know about snow emergencies through texts and emails. The city council will take up the issue sometime in the near future.