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Superior steps up enforcement on Wisconsin Point

A committee tosses around higher fines and immediate towing as ideas for dealing with illegally parked vehicles.

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A car is illegally parked in front of a parking sign along Wisconsin Point on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Superior launched an effort to restore the dunes on Wisconsin Point in 2017. That effort, completed in 2019, is in jeopardy because some people are parking outside designated parking areas.

It’s difficult to know how much damage has been done because some areas still haven’t had the opportunity to benefit from restoration efforts, said Linda Cadotte, parks, recreation and forestry director.

“What we want people to realize is that Wisconsin Point is pristine, undeveloped, natural, and the more people can help park in the designated areas, the more we’re able to keep it that way,” Cadotte said.

Illegal parking on Wisconsin Point has persisted since the nearly $2 million restoration project was completed despite ordinance changes and signs reminding visitors to park in designated areas.

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A car that is illegally parked along Wisconsin Point Road has a citation waiting on its windshield Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

The restoration project actually created more legal parking spaces than existed on Wisconsin Point in 2017.

More signs were erected Wednesday, Aug. 18, and large stones have been ordered to block off problem areas, said Councilor Jenny Van Sickle, who approached the Public Safety Committee searching for additional enforcement.

PREVIOUSLY:

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The committee tossed around ideas such as larger fines for illegal parking on Wisconsin Point or removing illegally parked cars by towing more quickly than would occur normally but postponed making any decision to see if the additional signs and stones would encourage better practices by the public.
“We don’t normally immediately tow vehicles for parking illegally unless they are creating a hazard in the roadway,” said Thor Trone, Superior police traffic lieutenant and an adviser to the committee. He said ordinance changes would have to be implemented to increase fines or effect towing changes on Wisconsin Point.

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Large rocks sit next to a "No Parking" sign to discourage drivers from parking along Wisconsin Point Road on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Chief Nicholas Alexander said the city will increase patrols on Wisconsin Point and use social media to educate the public on the importance of following the rules on Wisconsin Point.

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“I think that sounds like an awesome plan … and we’ll check in next month to see if there’s been improvement," Van Sickle said.

Cadotte said the city doesn’t want people to have a bad experience when they head out to Wisconsin Point.

“Nobody wants to issue tickets; nobody wants to tow vehicles,” Cadotte said.

If people can’t find an open spot in their favorite location, Cadotte said she would encourage people to keep driving down the point until they find a place to park.

“They might find a new favorite spot,” Cadotte said. “… We’re trying to preserve the space for future generations.”

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