DIXON – The Dixon Police Department has been issuing warnings to violators of the city’s parking ordinance during snowstorms. Now, it plans to tow cars.
The city has a similar parking ordinance to those in Rock Falls and Sterling. After 2 inches of snow or more falls, Dixon’s odd-even rules enact.
For instance, on an odd-numbered day, people should park on the odd side of the street, so a plow can clear snow on the even side. The rules continue until a whole block has been taken care of.
In a news release this week, the Dixon Police Department said that, as of Thursday, it would no longer issue warnings for parking violators this season.
“Moving forward, vehicles that are in violation will be towed pursuant to the ordinance…,” the release said. “If we all work together, this can go very smoothly.”
Lt. Brad Sibley said about 30 cars that were in the way of plows Monday had moved by Thursday.
“There was some door-knocking, some warnings issued,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is get people’s cars towed. It’s hard to get people to remember [the odd-even rules]. We try to be lenient.”
In downtown, where an ordinance bars overnight parking, the police had eight cars towed after the last two snowstorms, Sibley said. The police, he said, have been charging the owners the costs of towing, not the $75 tickets for the violations.
In Rock Falls, the city sees 75 percent compliance, Police Chief Mike Kuelper said.
“When we get a really heavy snow, we go for the ticket and towing. Officers ask people to move, especially during the holidays when relatives visiting may not know the rules,” the chief said.
As for downtown, Kuelper said, the city police sometimes ask bars to remind their customers about the overnight parking ban. And the police have the bars tell them which cars will remain when customers are too drunk to drive, he said.
“We don’t want drunk drivers,” the chief said.
Sterling police Lt. Tim Morgan said he doesn’t recall his department having to tow cars during snow emergencies.
“It’s a very last-resort tactic,” he said.