Humboldt City Council

Officials consider parking rules for snowy days

HUMBOLDT — It is still summer, but winter parking was on the agenda of the Humboldt City Council meeting Tuesday.

There have been some concerns from residents about the city’s winter parking ordinance, City Administrator Travis Goedken said.

“Currently there are four months residents are not allowed to park on city streets between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.,” Goedken said.

However, residents have complained it could be 70 degrees outside and parking is still prohibited on city streets.

“On the owners side of that as well when we do get a snowfall event we don’t have anything in place that prohibits people from parking on the streets outside of 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.,” Goedken said.

Goedken suggested the city designate a snow emergency. One possibility would be a parking ban which would go into effect automatically after a two inch snowfall or greater no matter what the hour.

Councilman Brett Davis asked how people would shop downtown during such an emergency.

“That is something we will have to discuss,” Goedken said.

There is a downtown parking lot which could be utilized. A heavy snowfall event is not a peak shopping time anyway, he said.

Or the city could enact a preemptive parking ban if a heavy snowfall is anticipated, Goedken said.

“That way our plows can get out and clear the streets, not having any obstructions and be able to operate more efficiently,” he said.

This would also allow residents to park on the streets overnight if there is no snow, Goedken said. Street Department Superintendent Chris Ubben is in favor of some kind of prohibitive street parking during snow fall events, he added.

The ban would affect people going to get their mail or going to a restaurant and things like that, Davis said.

“I can see downtown being affected by it,” Councilman John Sleiter said.

The central business district could be exempt but residential areas are the biggest problem, Goedken said.

If there isn’t a consistent policy there will be all kinds of people saying they were not aware of the ban, Councilman Jim Vermeer said. He isn’t concerned if the city employees have difficulty moving snow.

Sometimes a snowfall is not forecast, Councilman Joel Goodell said.

“I just hate to see you make an ordinance that is going to create a whole lot more phone calls or a whole lot more complaints,” he said.

“I like Jim’s idea of the consistency part of it then the people would know what their expectations were,” Mayor Dan Scholl said.

Goedken said he wasn’t looking for immediate direction from the council, but it was a subject he would like to see the council continue discussing.