Winter parking mandates, staying safe during inclement weather


Dreyma Beronja/NW

PARKED—Northern Michigan University’s parking lots will alternate throughout the winter semester for closing weather permitting. These weekend cleanups will help keep lots cleared of snow and ice for students, staff, faculty and visitors to make driving easier.

Joslin Brown, Contributing Writer

It’s that time of year again. As the winter weather begins to become more prominent, driving and parking conditions worsen. For those who are experiencing their first U.P. winter, it can be intimidating but knowing how to stay safe will ease any worries for the months to come.

On Nov. 1, 20221, the annual city ban for on-street parking went into effect. This means that during the hours of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., those who drive are not allowed to park in the street. According to the Marquette Police Department, drivers are required to find off-street parking between these hours. 

Failure to do so may result in a fine starting at $50 or the vehicle being towed if it interferes with snow removal efforts. For those off-campus, there is also a ban on parking in the front yards of homes where it may interfere with sightlines. 

Both bans are in effect until April 1st, 2022. 

In order to keep up with the snow and inclement weather, campus lots will be cleared by the grounds crew in the early mornings on a daily basis. When the time comes, residence halls and on-campus lots will be plowed on a rotating schedule. Residents will be sent reminders on when and where to park in alternate lots. 

“The Northern Michigan University grounds department typically starts their day at 5 a.m. or earlier during the winter months in order to remove a sufficient amount of snow from the campus roads and sidewalks,” Jesse Wernholm, parking services manager, said. “The department attempts to have all main roads and sidewalks cleared and sanded or salted before 8 a.m. classes. If the grounds department doesn’t feel they can open the campus roads and sidewalks safely by that time, they will consult with Chief Bath of the [NMU Police Department] and the campus president to determine if classes should be canceled or the university closed.” 

Another factor in canceling or closing university for the day is cold temperatures. In the case of any reasoning for a student to miss class due to inclement weather, they should refer to the inclement weather policy and how to converse with their professors to make up work and be excused.

Students can also register to get notifications from NMU’s emergency text alert system with the link on the NMU Police Department webpage. This will alert students immediately when school is closed.

Please use common sense on whether or not you believe it is also safe to come onto campus for classes during the winter months, especially if you commute from further distances,” Wernholm said. 

Knowing how to stay safe in case of an emergency and being prepared for such situations is crucial in the winter. Wernholm suggests keeping your phone charged and with you at all times while traveling as well as a flashlight, blanket and non-perishable foods. 

Warm clothes, water and tools like jumper cables and a shovel are useful to have as well. Scheduling an oil change and tire rotation sooner rather than later should be considered as well to keep vehicles in good condition for the winter months.

“If you slide off the road it is generally safer to stay in your vehicle and dial 911 immediately. Keep your vehicle running with hazard lights on to stay warm as long as your tailpipe isn’t buried, which could cause carbon monoxide poisoning,” Wernholm said. “Give yourself more time to get to your destination during the winter months.”

For those who feel unsafe walking around campus, NMU’s Safe Walk Program offers carefully selected escorts during dark hours, seven days a week. According to their website, the program can be reached by calling 227-2151. There you will be asked to give your name, location and show your ID upon their arrival. 

This service is available to all students, staff, and visitors when traveling around NMU campus.