‘Not a cheap process’: Sioux Falls police remind residents of snow alert parking rules

“We need to make sure roads are open and plowed so emergency vehicles can get through,” police spokesman Sam Clemens said. “There's a bigger point to making sure these cars are off the streets.”

Snow gate 1.PNG
A snow gate in use on a city plow on the streets of Sioux Falls.
Contributed / City of Sioux Falls video image

SIOUX FALLS — The Sioux Falls Police Department is reminding residents of on-street parking rules during snow alerts so police can spend less time waiting for tow trucks in the wake the most-recent winter storm.

When a snow alert is declared, the city provides a time frame for when they expect plowing to begin in each of the city’s three zones. With the exception of emergency routes, which are routinely maintained, plowing typically begins in Zone 3 — a large area encompassing most of the city.

Do they really work? Depends on where you live apparently, and the earth's magnetic field.

Upon the completion of Zone 3, plowing begins in an area surrounding downtown — Zone 2 — before moving into Zone 1, a small area of downtown.

“Once a snow alert has been declared, you cannot park on the streets until its been plowed. That’s the basic premise. It doesn’t matter where you live,” police spokesman Sam Clemens said during Friday’s regular briefing. “What it boils down to is: Don't park on the streets once a snow alert has been declared.”

Clemens said there's a two-pronged process when vehicles remain in the streets.


“The first part is the ticketing part, where the officers, once that vehicle has been plowed in, will issue a ticket, and if it hasn’t been removed it will be towed,” he said.

Though there’s no exact time frame for when a tow truck will be called to remove a ticketed vehicle, Clemens said it usually occurs within a couple of days.

“Most people are pretty good about getting cars moved after they’ve got a ticket,” Clemens said. “But there are some cars that we have to tow as well.”

Tickets start out at $35. Forgetting to pay them, however, could increase that cost to $100 after seven days. But according to Clemens, paying the ticket is significantly cheaper than getting towed.

The National Weather Service reported 12.6 inches of snow in Sioux Falls between Tuesday and Thursday.

“We have different tow companies that contract with the police department. There’s a set rate, so it doesn't matter which tow company gets used,” Clemens said. “I think it's around $180 or $190 just for the tow itself. Then, there’s gonna be some storage fees, and that’s a daily fee. If they have to do any type of snow removal to get the car out there’s going to be a fee with that.”

In total, he estimated a tow could cost a resident up to $300.

“It's not a cheap process,” Clemens said. “Contrary to what people think, we don't want to tow cars."

Officers have to continue dealing with other calls and don't want to be sitting at a car waiting for a tow truck, he said.


“This is something that needs to be dealt with, which is why we spend so much manpower dealing with that. We need to make sure roads are open and plowed so emergency vehicles can get through,” Clemens said. “There’s a bigger point to making sure these cars are off the streets — it’s not just to go out and generate revenue … it's to make sure people aren't parking on the roads until they've been plowed.”

The city recently launched the Snow Alert Tracker , enabling residents to see which roads have been completely plowed and have reopened for parking.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
What To Read Next
Get Local