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”.)