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home : opinion : editorial
January 20, 2021

11/18/2020 10:02:00 AM
Prepare for snow

So far as we know, there is not a great deal of snow in the local forecast, at least in the foreseeable future.
But we know it's coming. This is Minnesota, after all.
And, when snow hits Minnesota cities, there are snow emergency procedures to follow. Windom, in particular, has seen its share of controversy regarding the city's snow emergency system.
The system has changed enough, even within the past 12 months, that we all need a refresher. Last December, there were mixed reviews as the new system saw its first true test.
Street Superintendent Brian Cooley was upbeat about results, noting that only 50 cars were left in the streets, blocking the path of snowplows. That was half the amount seen during a typical storm in previous years.
Moreover, plow drivers were able to clear Fourth Avenue, from one end to the other, without going around cars. That hasn't happened on this main thoroughfare for years.
However, Cooley admitted that there were a few kinks in the plan, mostly related to downtown residents who had no place to park.
A few weeks later, the council called for a change that would allow residents to park in city parking lots (except for the Emergency Services lot) during snow emergencies.
The rest of the snow season appeared to go fairly well under the new snow emergency system. And, we are optimistic that the system will only improve as violations are enforced and local residents get used to it.
As we head into winter, here are a few key details regarding Windom's snow emergency system:
• A snow emergency will be announced whenever heavy snow or high winds are present. You can find these announcements on the city website, or Citizen Online at www.windomnews.com.
• During snow emergencies, vehicles left in city streets and alleys are in danger of being ticketed and towed.
• The "no parking" period for each snow emergency runs from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. and "when the street is completely cleared of snow, from curb to curb."
• If you should be ticketed for a snow emergency violation, it is considered a misdemeanor and the fine is likely to be at least $30, according to the Windom Police Department.
Once city streets are cleared from curb to curb, residents who parked overnight in downtown lots are asked to move their cars to a street. This allows city plows to easily clear the downtown lots without having to work around parked cars.
Thanks to this new system and a decision to contract for plowing a few city lots, it appears city crews will be able to clear snow more efficiently and effectively.
We are hopeful this gives crews time to fully clear snow from downtown areas in a timely manner - alleviating a problem that has been a source of frustration for several years.
    - Rahn Larson

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