Students who received tickets for snow emergency parking violations over winter break can celebrate the new year with reduced parking fines. The Ann Arbor City Council last night reduced the fine accompanying parking tickets issued for cars parked on the street during the snow emergency over break.

The tickets were originally issued for $125, in accordance with city ordinance. But after extensive discussion, the council moved to reduce the 594 tickets issued to $35. The city will also rebate any tickets already paid in full.

City Administrator Roger Fraser declared a snow emergency from Dec. 25 to 28 – meaning that all cars parked on the street were in violation of Ann Arbor ordinances stating that cars must be moved off the street for the entire duration of a snow emergency.

This ordinance, meant to prevent buildup of snow, narrowed city streets during the winter. The $125 ticket cost aided the city in recouping some of the cost of towing cars off streets during heavy snow accumulation, estimated by Councilwoman Heidi Cowing Herrell (D-2nd Ward) to be about $270 per car. But no cars were towed in the December snow emergency.

Herrell also said the original fine was meant “to be an incentive for people to get out there and move their cars” during snow emergencies, and expressed worries that a lower fine would remove some of the deterrent force of the original ordinance.

Fraser said the situation was compounded because the snow fell over a holiday. He added in the future there will be more scrutiny and his office will try to give people a few days notice to remove their cars from the street. He also said better communication is needed between the city and citizens in print media and using other methods, such as campus e-mails to University students.

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