Brooklyn Park Moves to Change Winter Parking Rules
Brooklyn Park plans to try something different with its on-street winter parking rules. The Brooklyn Park City Council on Monday night approved the first reading of an amendment to the city’s parking ordinance that would allow the city to declare snow emergencies.
Existing Ordinance “Doesn’t Have Enough Teeth”
City officials could declare snow emergencies when there is 2 inches or more of snowfall. It’s similar to the city’s existing regulations, except a snow emergency declaration would allow the city to tag and tow vehicles immediately. City officials say the existing ordinance doesn’t have enough teeth after citations are issued. Existing language only allows towing if a vehicle isn’t moved after 24 hours.
Brooklyn Park City Council members have worked on the parking issue for the past year. Current rules also don’t allow parking on city streets from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. from October 15 to April 15. Those rules will remain in effect. But some council members expressed concerns about enforcing more rules.
“If we’re not enforcing what we have now, because enforcement is nearly impossible truly, we’re going to keep adding more rules about that, then what?” asked Brooklyn Park City Council member Lisa Jacobson at Monday night’s meeting. “All we’re going to hear about is we got more rules and they’re not enforced.”
Brooklyn Park Deputy Police Chief Todd Milburn says the police department plans to add cadets or reserves to help with overnight enforcement.
“Isn’t Just a Winter Thing”
Some council members also wondered whether parking rules should be enforced year-round. Brooklyn Center, for instance, bans parking on city streets from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. throughout the year.
“This isn’t just a winter thing,” said Brooklyn Park City Council member Rich Gates. “That’s why I’ve been asking for this for 12 years. This is a public safety issue, this is a street maintenance issue.”
Gates says parking on streets near apartments is a particular problem.
“We need to work on those apartments. We have to hammer them,” said Gates. “You go through these apartment complexes at 2 o’clock in the morning, there are hundreds of open spots in these lots, and there’s a hundred cars on the street. Doesn’t make any sense to me at all.”
Council member Bob Mata expressed concern about city streets turned into junkyards. Mata expressed support for a year-round overnight parking ban. Brooklyn Park City Manager Jay Stroebel says a community survey shows residents divided on the issue. Some feel there should be looser regulations, while others expect stronger rules.
The Brooklyn Park City Council unanimously approved the first reading of the snow emergency amendment. Final approval is expected at a future meeting.