Winter parking rules in effect: Detroit Lakes public works director reminds residents to avoid on-street parking after snowstorms

Winter is coming — and with it, some weather-related parking restrictions. Detroit Lakes Public Works Director Shawn King is letting local residents know that winter parking rules are in effect throughout the city. This means that, during a snow emergency, city police have the authority to tow away vehicles parked on city streets when they are obstructing snowplow drivers and other emergency personnel from doing their jobs.

Snow removal.jpg
Detroit Lakes snowplow drivers spend many a late night hour removing snow from city streets during the winter — which is why it's a good idea not to park on the street during snow emergencies. (Tribune File Photo)

If you leave your car parked out on a Detroit Lakes street after a heavy snowstorm, city ordinance allows police officers to tow away and impound it — and you may even be subject to court charges and fines.

Detroit Lakes Public Works Director Shawn King sent out a press release this week reminding local residents that winter parking rules are in effect throughout the city.

"Per City Code 802.08, the public works director has the authority to order a snow emergency whenever an emergency exists in the city, or in a section or sections thereof, because of snow, freezing rain, sleet, ice, or other phenomena, which create or are likely to create hazardous road conditions, or likely to impend the free movement of fire, health, police, emergency, or other vehicular traffic, for the safety and welfare of the community," King wrote.

"The public works director may declare an emergency to exist for a period of 72 hours," he added, "but the emergency may be sooner terminated if conditions permit."

A snow emergency will be declared whenever there is a forecasted snowfall exceeding two inches, King noted. Once a snow emergency has been declared, all motor vehicles parked on city streets should be moved off-street between the hours of 1-7 a.m., "to provide for the orderly and safe clearing of streets."


Once the snow removal and/or other emergency operations have been completed on a particular street, parking may resume as before.

Though vehicle towing, police impoundment, court charges and fines may ensue from a violation of the city's winter parking rules, such actions are not taken without ample warning, King said Thursday.

"We do tow vehicles that are in the way when we start rollup," he said, explaining that "rollup" is the process of removing all the snow from the roads and piling it into trucks to be hauled away.

"Before we do anything we send out a notification that we will be doing rollups, and on what roads and times we are doing it," he continued, adding that they also post signs along the snow removal routes so people are aware that they will need to move their vehicles and keep them off the street during certain times.

"We usually put out the notifications (on radio, in the press, etc.) the day before, between noon to 3 p.m.," he said, adding that rollups typically start around midnight, as is spelled out on the signs.

snow emergency sign.jpg
Emergency snow removal signs like this one are put up all along a particular street that has been designated for emergency snow removal. (Tribune File Photo)

"These parking rules are set for the safety of the public," King wrote in the press release. "The City of Detroit Lakes encourages no on-street parking during all snow events. Tenants living in downtown apartments are directed to park in designated overnight parking spaces, to avoid fines and/or impoundment. Landlords are encouraged to notify their tenants of these rules and to provide alternatives to on-street parking."

What To Read Next
Get Local