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Grand Forks parking ticket numbers rising, and on pace to top 2021's total

There was a substantial increase in parking tickets across Grand Forks from 2020 to 2021. It looks like tickets will continue to increase from 2021 to 2022, though less significantly.

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The sun rises behind a water tower in Grand Forks. (Grand Forks Herald photo)
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GRAND FORKS — The number of parking tickets written in Grand Forks rose dramatically after a lull during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and now appears ready to outpace even 2021’s total.

In 2021, there were 12,996 parking tickets issued citywide, a 53.5% increase from 2020, when there were 8,467. Ticket counts were lower in 2020, in part because of a moratorium on street maintenance tickets for three months during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, in the first eight months of 2022, there were 12,288 parking tickets issued in Grand Forks.

Along with the rise attributed to a return to normal following the slowdown during the pandemic, Lt. Andrew Stein, of the Grand Forks Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards, said another factor has been the GFPD’s acquisition of a license plate reader, which has assisted community service officers in writing parking tickets.

The top five parking violations in 2021 were, in order, street maintenance 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; overtime parking; street maintenance 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.; reserved parking without a permit; and parking in a no-parking zone.

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Once a parking ticket is issued, the violator has 14 days to pay it. If it is not paid within the two-week period, a non-criminal warrant is issued, Stein said. When the person is found, they are given a summons to court to meet with a judge and resolve the issue. Of 2022’s 12,288 parking tickets, 9,337 have been paid, leaving 2,951 currently unpaid.

This data includes tickets issued by the Grand Forks Police Department, but also by UND, the street department, Red River High School, Central High School, the Grand Forks Park District, Grand Forks City Hall, Grand Forks Airport, and Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office. The vast majority of Grand Forks parking tickets are issued by the street department, with the second largest contributor being the GFPD.

Most parking tickets in Grand Forks are $20, aside from ramp tickets ($40) and handicap parking tickets ($100). The net of fees collected since the start of 2022 is $240,133. According to Maureen Storstad, finance director for the city, the money gets allocated to the parking fund and/or general fund, depending on where the ticket was issued. The general fund covers street maintenance and the police department.

In East Grand Forks, Alyssa Hammen, an employee of the East Grand Forks Police Department, said the agency does not typically issue a large amount of parking tickets unless they receive a complaint, officers find a violation or there’s a snow emergency. The EGFPD does not have the exact number of parking tickets it has issued, due to a variety of tickets being in one shared database. East Grand Forks tickets are typically $15 or $25, depending on the violation type. After five days without payment, tickets go up to $25 or $40.

“Most of our parking tickets are issued in the winter during a ‘snow emergency’ for vehicles that did not get off the streets for the plows to clear them,” Hammen said.

She said there are a few parking tickets issued during the summertime for vehicles parked on the street for too long or in no-parking zones, but the police department does not typically get calls in regard to those issues. Hammen speculated the overall lack of parking tickets may be due to East Grand Forks having more off-street parking availability than Grand Forks does for those who live in apartments.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Sav Kelly joined the Grand Forks Herald in August 2022.

Kelly covers public safety, including local crime and the courts system.

Readers can reach Kelly at (701) 780-1102 or skelly@gfherald.com.
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