by April Scheinoha
Snow hasn’t started falling yet, but the Thief River Falls City Council is getting ready for winter. At its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 18, the council approved amending the calendar parking ordinance.
Calendar parking will continue Nov. 15 to March 15. However, the mayor now has the authority to declare a snow emergency and start calendar parking citywide before and after that time frame if needed.
In addition, no parking will be allowed every day during calendar parking (Nov. 15 to March 15) from 2 to 6 a.m. on all roadways in the Central Business District. This area is bordered by Fourth Street on the north, Knight Avenue on the west, First Street on the south and the Canadian Pacific railroad on the east (including LaBree Avenue east of the former hospital emergency entrance). This change was made to allow for a more thorough cleaning of downtown city streets and avenues.
The downtown calendar parking restriction excludes state highways in that area. Council member Steve Narverud cautioned residents that the Minnesota Department of Transportation may plow in their vehicles if they park on state highways at that time.
Downtown residents also have the option of parking in downtown parking lots. However, they are reminded to pay attention to signage indicating where they are to park in those lots during calendar parking.
As a reminder, calendar parking means no parking is allowed from 6 to 9 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on avenues, which span north and south, and Red Lake Boulevard.
Calendar parking also means no parking is allowed from 6 to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on streets, which span east and west. This also applies to courts, cul-de-sacs, drives and lanes.
The council had considered other changes to calendar parking, including the hours and starting date. Residents voiced their concerns, and the council ultimately approved the changes listed at the beginning of this article.
In a separate, related motion, the council approved the 2018 Snow Removal Policy. As a part of that policy, the street/sanitation foreman will determine when snow or ice control operations should occur. He will make that decision based on:
• “Snow accumulation of two inches or more;
• “Drifting of snow that causes problems for travel;
• “Icy conditions which seriously affect travel; and
• “Time of snowfall in relationship to heavy use of streets.”
The policy indicated that snowplowing generally won’t occur for snowfall of less than two accumulative inches due to the cost, limited personnel and limited equipment. The scheduled starting time is 2 a.m. for those operations.
The policy further noted that “scheduling overtime weekend work is determined by snow amounts, time of snowfall and financial considerations.”
The policy also noted the schedule of streets to be plowed. High volume streets will be plowed first. Next, streets and avenues will be plowed depending upon the calendar parking schedule.