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Street cleanup plan detailed

Fargo city staff hope a proposed system of maintenance districts for the city can improve snow removal and street cleaning, cut fuel and labor costs and make overnight parking easier for residents.

Fargo city staff hope a proposed system of maintenance districts for the city can improve snow removal and street cleaning, cut fuel and labor costs and make overnight parking easier for residents.

Al Weigel, the Public Works operations manager, outlined the plan for the Traffic Technical Advisory Committee recently and said he hopes the measure will be approved by the City Commission by late September.

The plan divides the city into five zones for street cleaning and snow removal. Each zone is assigned a day of the week that's set one day before garbage collection for that area, Weigel said.

After a major snowfall, city crews first do their basic plowing citywide. Then, they will concentrate on each of the zones in turn from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to clear all roads.

It's similar to a system now in place in Moorhead, City Commissioner Mike Williams said.


The zones also would be useful for cleaning roads curb to curb year round, Williams said, including clearing leaves in the fall and sand in the spring.

Excluded from the plan are the downtown and North Dakota State University districts, which will stay on the current system, Weigel said.

On each zone's maintenance day, no vehicles will be allowed on streets or avenues. If a car or truck is parked where it shouldn't be, it gets towed, Weigel said.

Zero tolerance for on-street parking or snowbirds on a zone's cleanup day is key, Weigel said.

"This is a great benefit for maintenance and public works only if there are no special perks" for some areas, Weigel said. Too many exemptions, "and we'd be in the same situation we are now."

Vehicles would be allowed to park on all streets and avenues at night, Weigel said.

The goal is to completely clear roads of snow, without having icy humps and ruts of snow or snowbound cars that can make city streets tough to negotiate for emergency vehicles, Weigel said. If automated garbage pickup is eventually implemented, it will also be helped by the system, he said.

But the plan's benefits have a flipside that need to be worked through, City Engineer Mark Bittner said.


Homeowners may get twice as many winter parking days, but they must arrange to be off the street on cleanup days.

In some areas, such as the Greenfields Addition, with its narrow streets, that could be difficult, Bittner said.

"Where are they going to park?" Bittner asked. "We may need to think about this a little deeper."

Other issues, such as whether to allow parking on one or both sides of certain streets, must be worked through in order to be sure emergency vehicles can get around easily, Bittner said.

The cost of new signs is also a concern. Scrapping the current set of parking rules will mean replacing 4,300 signs, city staffers said. That could cost $65,000, not including labor, Weigel said.

Williams agrees there are issues to work through. But, he told the panel that potential savings in fuel and labor costs are attractive.

"I think there's some opportunities, too," Williams said Friday, adding that the system may encourage further use of public transportation, motor scooters and bicycles.

Weigel and other city staff are now doing a cost-benefit analysis of the plan, a study of parking rules now in effect, and contacting other cities to examine their snow removal and street cleanup plans.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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