If you were fined already for alternate-side parking in La Crosse, you’re not off the hook.
But for the time being, the La Crosse Police Department has, more or less, postponed giving out monetary fines for alternate-side parking.
Those who get ticketed right now, will received a $0 fine.
That goes until the first measurable snowfall, police said. After that, alternate-side parking will be back in effect.
Police added that for those who already received a ticket for violating alternate-side parking, those are non-revocable. The first ticket is for $0, anyway. The second offense is a $15 fine.
The city has given out 3,054 first-offense tickets since Nov. 15, and 1,526 second-offense, $15 fines, this year.
Alternate-side parking runs from Nov. 15-March 15. Last season, police gave out 12,055 first-offense, $0 tickets and 6,308 second-offense fines for $15.
Police added there are numerous reasons to have alternate-side parking, aside from snowplowing the road, including street sweeps and leaf collection.
“Street sweeping is not just for aesthetics; sweeping is a major help in keeping the stormwater system clear of debris and leaves,” street superintendent Mike La Fluer said in a statement.
“We have a permit from the state to discharge stormwater,” added Bernard Lenz, the utilities manager for the City of La Crosse, in a statement. “Part of that permit mandates we remove phosphorous. Street sweeping is one of the programs we perform to meet compliance with the State regulations. By removing the dirt and debris, we remove phosphorous and meet those requirements, alternate side parking aids in street sweeping and helping us meet that requirement.”
Mayor Tim Kabat said Monday on La Crosse Talk PM he had received and seen several complaints on social media and from phone calls/emails about fining people during a pandemic with unusually warm weather and no sign of snow on the horizon.
Kabat said he reached out to the police and the department was able to suspend fines for the time being.
“So, I’ve got to give them a lot of credit because,” Kabat said. “Again, the city gets the rap that this is just simply a revenue generator and it’s really not. Although it does generate tickets and it does help pay for a parking utility, but it’s really about the issues that go along with trying to maintain a transportation network around the city, especially when we get heavy snowfall.”