City of Duluth declares snow emergency

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The City of Duluth has declared its first snow emergency as more snow falls following a storm Sunday night and into Monday.

The snow emergency will be in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, unless another snow emergency is declared. During a media briefing Tuesday, Duluth Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman was asked why the city didn’t declare a snow emergency earlier.

"(Monday) when we were evaluating the snowfall, crews were working and able to keep up with it. As the day moved on and we started to understand (Tuesday) morning the impact of additional snow that will be coming in (Tuesday) afternoon and evening, it became clear at that point that we needed to call a snow emergency," Schuchman said.

Greg Guerrero, the city’s Interim Public Works and Utilities Director, agreed that a snow emergency wasn’t needed on Sunday and Monday.

"The snow came down over a day, almost half a day and to declare an emergency at that point really wouldn’t have done anything for us because we were on those routes anyway," Guerrero said.

All vehicles parked on snow emergency routes will need to be moved by 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28. Any vehicle that is still parked on a snow emergency route after 9 p.m. will be ticketed and/or towed at the owner’s expense.

Mark Bauer, Duluth’s Parking Operations Specialist, said their goal is to issue as few tickets and have as few tows as possible.

"As far as towing, we can do it if we need to, but we’d like to limit it as much as possible just to get the job done," Bauer said.

The snow emergency route map can be found HERE. There are approximately 120 miles of snow emergency routes within the City of Duluth. Emergency routes are typically major aerial streets, and are clearly marked with signs.

Garfield Avenue, which currently offers the only access to the Blatnik Bridge due to the Twin Ports Interchange closure, will also be plowed despite not being a snow emergency route, Guerrero said.

Parking on snow emergency routes is prohibited during a snow emergency. Residents and visitors should park on residential streets that are not designated snow emergency routes. This week, alternate side parking is allowed on the odd side of the street, which still applies during the snow emergency. As soon as the snow emergency is lifted, cars can return, unless otherwise signed or unless a new snow emergency has been declared.

There are optional lots available to park on a first come, first serve basis. A map of these lots can be found HERE. People can park in these lots for free funtil 8 p.m. Wednesday.

In declaring a snow emergency, this means that the plows are starting over in the timeframe of removing snow. Plows will focus on keeping snow emergency roads clear until the snow stops falling. Plows will then work the timeframe provided in the City’s Snow and Ice Policy, which can be found HERE.