Cities Vary in Snow Emergency Ticketing

Cities Vary in Snow Emergency Ticketing

(Drew Saunders, Jan. 31, 2020)

Berkley, Clawson, Ferndale, Oak Park, Royal Oak, MI – The weekend snowstorm of Jan. 17 gave the typical, expected challenge of getting local streets plowed and salted.  It also prompted hundreds of parking tickets of those who left their vehicles in the way.

Oakland County Times reached out to police chiefs in SE Oakland County to see how they handled the recent Snow Emergency.

In Oak Park, Public Safety Director Steve Cooper approached the storm first by giving residents a two day “heads up” about the snow emergency, sharing info on social media and in an eblast.  Vehicles left on the street during the snow emergency were ticketed – about 300 of them.

“It is extremely imperative that when a snow emergency is declared [that] all vehicles are moved from the roadway to allow our snow plows the opportunity to clear the streets thoroughly,” Cooper said. “It’s is important so that our emergency vehicles can access the streets in the event there is an emergency.”

But Oak Park is hardly alone in having residents  park somewhere other than the street when a big snowstorm hits. Those that don’t get a fine that can be as high as $100.

Ferndale Police wrote 112 tickets according to Sgt. Baron Brown. In Ferndale, residents who lack a driveway can park in the City Hall parking lot, or other designated places in the city.

Just to the north, Royal Oak issued about 800 tickets, according to Chief Corrigan O’Donohue. “We write the violations because if the streets are clear of vehicles it allows our DPW to clear the streets much quicker and safer.”

Clawson has a year-round ordinance banning parking on any city street between 2am and 6am.  According to Police Chief Scott Sarvello this helps reduce the need for Snow Emergency ticketing.  They issued 28 tickets that weekend.

Berkley’s Department of Public Safety also declared a snow emergency, but only issued five tickets according to Public Safety Director Matthew Koehn. “If we can, we try to ask the person to move their car prior to issuing a violation, “ Koehn said.

Berkley Public Safety Director Matthew Koehn said his department issued only five citations that weekend. “If we can, we try to ask the person to move their car prior to issuing a violation,” he said.

Each of the cities will generally alert residents that they are going to issue tickets several days in advance, through social and news media.  In some places a Snow Emergency automatically happens at 3 or 4 inches of accumulation.  In others it is announced when needed.



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