Chronic downtown parking violators still a problem that no one is doing anything about

Issuing parking tickets in downtown Northfield Issuing parking tickets in downtown Northfield 
A community service officer intern for the Northfield Police Department was issuing parking tickets this afternoon along Division St.  He said he written up over a dozen in a couple of blocks.  

In May of 2011, I blogged: Do we need a downtown parking hall of shame?

No real progress since then, evidently. But it makes me glad that the City Council hasn’t approved the Streetscape Task Force’s request to spend $700,000 for another parking lot.  The NDDC, the Chamber, and the Streetscape Task Force need to tackle the problem of chronic downtown parking violators first.

This big red pickup is poking TJ in the eye

As you may remember from my Oct. 18 blog post, Northfield Street and Park supervisor TJ Heinricy had a Compact Cars Only sign installed at the corner of 3rd & Division in downtown Northfield.  I wrote to TJ about how big the stall was and he replied:

TJ HeinricyGriff: I saw your recent post about the newly installed compact parking stall signage near the intersection of Division Street and 3rd Street.

The new signage was installed after a large amount of citizen requests to resolve a sight issue when going West on 3rd Street onto Division Street. The issue is being able to see oncoming traffic when trying to enter Division Street from 3rd Street.

The stall is planned to be shortened when the City of Northfield contracted paint striper is back in town.

Ever since, this big red pickup truck has been regularly seen parking there. I took photos of it a week ago in this spot. It was there again yesterday morning.

Yes, the parking stall has not yet been downsized so it’s somewhat inviting to those with big vehicles.

But the owner of this big red pickup truck (MN license plate 422 BXL) doesn’t even bother to stay within the boundaries of the stall, making visibility even more of a problem for vehicles descending the 3rd St. hill and turning onto Division.

Red pickup truck in Northfield, MN license plate 422 BXL DSC05303

Anyone know who owns it?

There’s a new parking space for compact cars on Division, but it’s big enough for Wayne Eddy’s convertible

compact car parking spot on Division at 3rd compact car parking spot on Division at 3rd Wayne Eddy's 1975 Delta 88 Olds Convertible
The City has created a new parking space on the east side of Division St. at 3rd, marked now with a sign that says "COMPACT CARS ONLY." Nice.

However, the length of the parking space appears to be the same as all the other parking spots on that side of Division. 

As a result, I’m guessing that owners of larger vehicles (SUV’s, pickup trucks, etc.) will park there.  I have my camera ready to capture the moment when Wayne Eddy parks his 1975 Delta 88 Olds Convertible there.

Do we need a downtown parking hall of shame?

Sheena Basness, Community Service Officer, Northfield Police DepartmentSheena Basness, Community Service Officer with the Northfield Police Department, was chalking tires downtown in front of Hogan Bros on Tuesday morning.  I’ve been waiting a long time to get this photo, as I commented here last year in the discussion on the blog post Downtown parking: what’s really needed? in which I’d asked:

Do downtown business owners and their employees too often park in these spots or is that a myth?

How rigorously do the police enforce downtown parking ordinances?

The City Council has rejected for now the Streetscape Task Force’s recommendation to:

… spend an estimated $760,000 to purchase a parcel on Washington Street near the library, raze a home on the site and add parking.

So what can be done to improve parking availability downtown? Officer Basness said she chalks tires several times a week in the two-hour parking zone downtown. She indicated that there are several (many?) downtown store/building owners and office workers who are chronic offenders, that citations are $10 if paid promptly, and that an accumulation of 5 tickets results in a stiffer fine.

I couldn’t find anything (can anyone else find it?) specific about downtown parking in the Municipal Code section ARTICLE IV. – STOPPING, STANDING AND PARKING but Sec. 78-104. – Violation and penalties says:

Any person who violates sections 78-93(a), 78-94, 78-96, 78-97, 78-99, 78-101, 78-102, 78-103, 78-105, and 78-106 shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor punishable by a fine in the amount established by resolution. Each two-hour period in a two-hour parking zone that a violation of this section exists shall be a separate offense. After the first tagged violation, each 15-minute period in a no parking yellow zone, bus stop or taxi zone or a double parking zone shall be a separate offense. All vehicles in violation are subject to being towed away at the owner’s expense.

I like the idea of parking hall of shame website/blog like the Jersey City Parking Hall of Shame Inductees.

Parking Quality Control Commission (PQCC) quietly doing its job

Lost in the discussion about downtown parking is that the City of Northfield has a Parking Quality Control Commission (PQCC) to address the problem of irresponsible use of parallel parking spots in downtown Northfield. I first blogged about the PQCC back in Oct of 2006.

PQCC member 'Woody Wannamaker' Erratically parked car Last night while riding my bike downtown, Woody Wannamaker, one of the original members of the PQCC (not his real name; we use it here—and the photo of his shoes–to protect his identity. His real name is Jim Gleason) alerted me to this vehicle parked in front of KYMN’s studios on Division.

He also sent me this photo he’d taken earlier in the day with his cell phone of a car erratically parked in front of the GBM.

PQCC cell phone photo

Podcast: the Triumvirate on downtown parking

The LG TriumvirateIt was just us this week and we spent our entire non-fluff segment talking about downtown parking, as it’s at the top of Streetscape Taskforce’s list of recommendations (PDF of June packet).

304 Washington St. 304 Washington St. 304 Washington St.
$760,000 is budgeted for expenses related to the purchase of this rental property at 304 Washington St.

Update 10:30 PM:

downtown satellite map downtown map streetview
I took these two screenshots from Google Maps view of the street, adding an arrow on one that points to the property.

Comments are closed. Continue the discussion attached to the June 30 blog post Downtown parking: what’s really needed?

Click play to listen. 30 minutes.

You can also download the MP3 or subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes. Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Mondays at 6:00 PM and Sundays at 10 AM on KYMN 1080 AM.

Downtown parking: what’s really needed?

Community Resource Bank parking lot Community Resource Bank parking lot NDDC Guide to Parking in Downtown Northfield
With the departure of Community Resource Bank from its downtown location, there’s now an empty parking lot in the heart of downtown—at least until the owner of the building, First National Bank of Northfield (across the street), leases the building.

Last week’s City Council work session discussion of the Streetscape Taskforce Recommendations (P. 15 of the packet) had this item on the list:

Purchase of property to address perceived needs of Downtown Parking issues and potentially assist with increased parking need by future Library project.

The NDDC provides a Guide to Parking in Downtown Northfield. Ross has blogged about parking issues for years (example, here). There have been several studies of downtown parking (eg. the Walker Study, the Stolley Report, others? links?).

Here are some low-hanging fruit questions of an uninformed blogger:

  • How often are the diagonal and parallel parking spots on Division completely full?
  • Do downtown business owners and their employees too often park in these spots or is that a myth?
  • How rigorously do the police enforce downtown parking ordinances?
  • What do we know that has worked and not worked in other downtowns of our size/type?

Regardless of the strange wording (“perceived needs of Downtown Parking issues” – do issues have needs?) and regardless of what happens with the Library expansion, downtown parking is an issue that should be fun to argue about.

In the meantime, the now-empty Community Resource Bank parking lot is a perfect spot for a temporary skateboard plaza!

Where have all the semis gone?

Semis on Honey Locust Drive With Babcock Park the temporary home of the skate park, truckers are now parking overnight on Honey Locust Drive at Cannon Road, across from the Post Office Annex. Seems like a good alternative to me.

Continue the discussion attached to the April 22 blog post, Semis in the Babcock Park parking lot: good, bad or ugly?

Solutions for Northfield’s “parking problem”

Maybe some of these could work here….?

Semis in the Babcock Park parking lot: good, bad or ugly?

Semis in Babcock Park The Northfield City Council discussed truck parking in the Babcock Park (rodeo grounds/dog park) parking lot at Monday’s meeting. I wasn’t there but caught a bit of the discussion on a KYMN news report yesterday. It seems that there was staff and Council consensus that this was NOT a good place for semis to park overnight. I’m not sure of all the reasoning but evidently visual blight was one of them. I’ve always thought it was a perfect spot for the semis: close to the highway, rarely used parking lot, lot big enough for trucks to turn around.

Parking downtown today? Wear boots.

snowpiles downtown NorthfieldYes, the streets and city parking lots were plowed last night. No, the snow was not removed from downtown. The 6 am photo outside the GBM where I’m blogging this is proof.

We dealt with this issue back in December with the blog post, City’s downtown snow plowing/snow removal policy: dumb-ass or not?  I stand by City Adminstrator Joel Walinski and the City street department’s policy. So qwitcherbellyaching, Bart. Park that Hummer of yours and get out there and dig some trenches for me.

City’s downtown snow plowing/snow removal policy: dumb-ass or not?

Downtown resident and building owner Bart de Malignon sent me his photos of the results of the City’s snow plowing this morning in downtown Northfield after last night’s 3-4” snowfall.

He didn’t like what he saw.

snow plowing in downtown Northfield snow plowing in downtown Northfield snow plowing in downtown Northfield snow plowing in downtown Northfield snow plowing in downtown Northfield

I’ve not thought a lot about this but the City’s policy seems reasonable to me.

The trucks plow the snow to the curb after a snowfall which, of course, makes parking difficult for the day.  I think that’s better than pushing the snow onto the sidewalk, making walking on the sidewalk difficult for the day or forcing retailers to do a lot of sidewalk shoveling.

City crews return late at night after a snowfall to remove all the snow from downtown.  Doing it twice wouldn’t be cost-effective.

Is there a better way for the City to do downtown snow plowing/removal?

12/10 1 pm update:

Here are three photos from January 2005 showing downtown snow removal.

downtown Northfield snow removal downtown Northfield snow removal downtown Northfield snow removal

Subscribe and Follow LoGro

Subscribe to the blog via email (daily) Subscribe to the blog via RSS Subscribe to the Locally Grown e-newsletter (weekly)
Follow us on Twitter Visit our Picasaweb photo gallery Like us on Facebook

Blog Monthly Archives

Blog Category Archives