by CHRIS ROGERS
The city of Winona has declared amnesty from its alternate side parking ordinance for the next two nights because of the severe cold. The city will not enforce the alternate side parking rule tonight or tomorrow night.
Winona Deputy Chief of Police Tom Williams said the city decided to suspend enforcement of the ordinance — which normally requires people to move their cars and park on only one side of city streets — because many Winonans have been unable to start their vehicles. “Furthermore, we don’t want to put people in a position where they’re spending an extended amount of time trying to get their car started to avoid a $25 parking ticket,” Williams explained. Wind chills are expected to drop to -35 to -60 degrees tonight, and the National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning, advising people to take precautions against the "dangerous, life-threatening cold."
Williams said that the Winona Police Department (WPD) does not want its officers spending lots of time out in that weather writing tickets or tagging cars to be towed either. On top of that, because of the cold, city street crews will not be plowing tonight — the alternate side parking ordinance is designed to facilitate snow plowing — Williams reported. “There’s really no sense in enforcing the ordinance if they’re not going to be out there,” he added.
The ordinance will be suspended from just after midnight tonight until Friday. As for Friday night, Williams said the WPD might extend the amnesty if necessary; however, as long as forecasts for warmer temperatures hold true, the city will enforce alternate side parking again starting on Friday night.