Snarking Violations


Some Grand Avenue time limit signs.

Snow can expose things about our car-dominated landscape that wouldn’t normally be so obvious. Much like a sneckdown, a “snarking violation” is when one can clearly observe that a vehicle hasn’t been moved and has violated posted parking ordinances.

Over the course of Monday night, the Twin Cities received their first snow storm. I took the opportunity, nearly 8 hours after the snow stopped falling, to bike commute home via Grand Avenue to take in the our best pedestrian street turned winter wonderland. As I passed Dale Ave, I began to realize that many of the cars parked appeared to have not moved for a significant amount of time.

For some background, Grand Ave was embroiled in a heated, and often misleading, debate about the addition of parking meters to encourage parking turn-over and the use of alternative modes. In the end, the parking enthusiasts successfully stopped what, I argued, would’ve been in their best interest on the claim that current posted time limits provided needed turn-over.

Many of us who frequent Grand Ave know this isn’t true, but it is hard to prove a vehicle has been sitting for 2+ hours unless you’re chalking tires and make multiple passes over the course of a day. However, this is where mother nature’s cozy white blanket comes in and saves us all from becoming amateur parking enforcement officers.

Clearly this is a single sampling after the first snow during a “holiday” week so take it with a grain of road salt; but I hope this changes the conversation about Grand Ave. “Snarking Violations” are a way for us to clearly point to examples of low parking turnover and the need for meters as a tool to better allocate our limited parking resources.

(Hat-tip to Jeff Zaayer for the terminology of “snarking violation”.)


Emmett's on Grand

In front of Emmett’s Pub.

Grand Snow 1

Slightly down the block from Emmett’s, east of Grotto Street

Grand Snow Red Ballon

Just west of the busy intersection of Grand and Victoria.

Grand Snow Red Ballon 2

In front of the popular book store Red Balloon Bookshop.

Grand SA Snow

Kitty-corner from 1st Grand Avenue Liquors.

Grand Cigar Shop Snow

Several businesses front this side of the street along with the site of the famed Cupcake debacle.

Grand Snow 2

Traditions Classic Home Furnishing’s is at the corner on the right.

Grand Wedding Shoppe Snow

In front of The Wedding Shoppe near Ayd Mill Road.

Grand Residential Snow

West of Syndicate and Ayd Mill Road [outside of the studied parking meter stretch].

Mike Sonn

About Mike Sonn

Mike lives in Saint Paul.