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Separation of church and state?

Three blocks away from my home, every Sunday morning, in front of Holy Rosary Cathedral, in spite of a two-thirds empty parking lot kitty corner from the church, Wallace Avenue is clogged with cars parked up on the sidewalk on both sides and in no parking zones.

Since my neighbors and I have been cited for parking facing the wrong direction (but on the correct side of the street) there’s obviously enforcement available in the area. So what’s going on just up the hill? Maybe they’re actually parked legally… But on the sidewalk? Really? On both sides of the street? So they can avoid walking 80 yards? That’s odd.

I emailed the chief of police, Donny, and my city counselor to bitch (okay, I’m a crank). Not a peep.

In the great scheme of things this is wholly without significance — who cares where the Catholics park? — but in the microcosm of my own petty concerns, it feels just a little bit unfair.

Holy Rosary parking lot during mass

West side of Wallace during mass

East side of Wallace during mass

52 Comments

B-man

about 8 years ago

Good luck fighting the Christians.  They have more connections than the Hockey Mafia.

I live in that neighborhood too, and have thought the same thing.  Why no parking enforcement during mass?  They definitely enforce parking laws during the week and especially during the school year.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (unless you are entitled to do what ever you want)

Forrest

about 8 years ago

I completely agree. It can be so annoying when driving through there. The same goes (is less of an annoying, but more dangerous way) for Woodland Ave during church times at Glen Avon Presbyterian Church. I can't believe they're allowed to block an entire lane of traffic for the whole block. If someone was unfamiliar with the area and not paying attention for a split second, you could easily rear end a parked car going 30+.

Patty

about 8 years ago

It's not just unfair; it's unsafe.  I drive in that area to get to Mt. Royal Fine Foods, and on Sunday it's just insane with parked cars blocking the view of intersections, and people crossing the street between parked cars. It shouldn't be allowed if they are violating posted parking regulations.  I wouldn't think ticketing all the church goers would be a good idea, but maybe someone in authority should have a visit with the parish priest and ask him to communicate with his parishioners.

emmadogs

about 8 years ago

I live in the neighborhood as well, and it sure makes it difficult to navigate myself and my dogs when cars are parked on the sidewalk.  It's quite dangerous.

Have you called the church and asked the priest to try and curtail this?

TopOfTheHillMan

about 8 years ago

@B-Man. Cute.  I lived in that neighborhood for 16 years and when the catholic diocese put their office building in I was furious as, of course, that neighborhood is not commercially zoned.  But it was pointed out to me that the church and school pay so much in taxes that they could do pretty much what they wanted.

David Beard

about 8 years ago

If this is accurate, there should be an immediate notice to the parish and, one week later, tickets should flow like waterfalls.

Deb

about 8 years ago

Duluth police don't enforce parking regulations during religious services.   They might come tag a car that's blocking a driveway, but only if you insist you need to get out.  Won't tow it, though.

Falls under "not worth the hassle."

B-man

about 8 years ago

@Deb  "Duluth police don't enforce parking regulations during religious services" is this a policy or just an observation. Do you work for DPD? 

If it is an official policy I would love to be able to review that piece of discriminatory/ prejudiced regulation.

SlimPickins

about 8 years ago

It's one morning a week.  Deal with it.  I've never seen so many fucking babies crying about something so trivial in my life.

Karasu

about 8 years ago

Glen Avon church has church service exceptions noted on their No Parking signs. They're an old church, tucked into a neighborhood and can't increase their parking lot size. Obviously Holy Rosary does not have special parking signs, and it should be enforced. They've got a huge parking lot, 4th St., and probably some parking down at the school.

(As for the possibility of running into a parked car on Woodland, drivers that oblivious to their surroundings should not be driving.)

Chris

about 8 years ago

Catholics and Presbyterians breaking the law!  "Do unto Caesar," unless it requires walking an additional 50 feet!

But at least the Lutherans have plenty of legal parking lot space.  ;)

B-man

about 8 years ago

@SlimPickins  are you crying about others crying?  That seem reasonable.  HAHAHA you fail.

Forrest

about 8 years ago

@Karasu: I understand that they have permission, I still just don't like the the solution that was implemented. If they need the street side parking, then the road should be slightly modified. They have plenty of yard. The side walk should be moved back and diagonal parking be installed, much like the back parking road of St Paul's Episcopal Church in my neighborhood. Either that, or cones should be out along with a merge left sign. The speed limit should also be lowered during church time, much like a school zone. Perhaps a "SPEED LIMIT 25 WHEN FLASHING" sign. 

It's been going on for years, I don't think a permanent solution is out of the question.

RK

about 8 years ago

Just a few comments and a word of clarification. First, "render unto Caesar..." Aren't Christians enjoined to follow the civil law? And regardless, isn't there supposed to be a church/state separation throughout this country? And finally, isn't there supposed to be equality under the law?  So why the parking exception? Of course none of this is actually practiced and thus the galling, if insignificant, hypocrisy.

Clarification: on Fourth street where it abuts church property along the North side of the street, there are No Parking signs with "Exception during services" noted. NOT on Wallace however.

One solution to all this is for the parishioners to use their own parking lot all the way across the street.

heysme

about 8 years ago

"... pointed out to me that the church and school pay so much in taxes."
 
They enjoy the exempt status, correct???

The parking issue is something that we deal with - be thankful that there is a church there and not several apartment building owned by absent landlords.

ian

about 8 years ago

They are also blocking designated bike lane/route...  

Funny how the dpd will ticket cyclists for impeding traffic on a designated bike route while allowing vehicles to illegally block a bike lane/route.

Well...

about 8 years ago

I know there are signs around town that state "no parking - except during church services" though I am not sure if those signs are around Holy Rosary.

But you have to understand that the people who are too lazy to walk across the street and park in the lot are the same people who park in the fire lane at Target, or park taking up two parking spots, or drive in the left lane and think they are somehow special and allowed to do these things.

ironic1

about 8 years ago

As a pastor of a church without a parking lot of any significant size (our building was built in 1906 when people still walked) we depend on parking on the streets, however, if I saw such shenanigans going on I would: 

1) Talk to our Trustees and Council about it to put an end to it, 
2) Publicize where people could park legally and safely, and 
3) Call the police myself if it continued.

It ain't safe, legal, or neighborly.

jill

about 8 years ago

Interesting that someone has brought this up.
There are two Sunday morning church services on Park Point that regularly block up both sides of Minnesota Avenue's parking lanes.  As you know, on Park Point, all legal parking is on the bay side in the summer for the biking/walking/skating lane on the lake side.  But not on Sunday Mornings! I have never seen a single ticket or citation issued, but I have seen some rather dangerous things happen due to the congestion.

jill

about 8 years ago

and i honestly don't know what the signs may say down there ... but i guess the thing is is that for some people, their Sunday morning walk, run, skate or bike is their Church.

Gordon Ramsay

about 8 years ago

I received your email last week about your concerns on church parking.  You wrote the email to Officer Russ Bradley, the neighborhood officer who works with concerned citizens on issues like this.  The Mayor, myself and others were copied in the email.  I can't speak for the others, but I assume Russ has or will contact you (we receive a lot of emails like yours on issues all over the board).  If Russ has not replied to you yet he will be soon and he will work with you on your concern.  I imagine Russ has or will be meeting with the church officials to try for voluntary compliance. 

Letters of concern sent to the church would help as well.  Have you ever expressed your concerns to church officials?  Often times concerns like this don't need to involve the police, but rather worked out between a church and neighbor.  In cases I've been involved with like this the entity often has no idea the frustration it is causing-and sometimes say it is just the police complaining.

We do our best to be responsive and focus on community concerns and this is one that had not been on our radar.    

If you are not satisfied with the matter as we work with you on addressing it call or email me any time.

Respectfully,

Gordon Ramsay
Chief DPD
[email protected]

Lojasmo

about 8 years ago

Chief Ramsay;

Seems like an opportunity to raise revenue in these troubled times.  Get cracking.

Sincerely;

Lojasmo

bluenewt

about 8 years ago

It's not just Sundays. Every time there's a wedding at Holy Rosary, people park illegally all over the place, blocking Wallace and Vermillion. I bike by there to get home many times a week, and it is dangerous. People park right under no parking signs.

I appreciate the fact that RK bothered to get in touch with the city, as opposed to just fuming, which is the only thing I ever do.

I'll write the church if you will. Deal?

zra

about 8 years ago

chief ramsay = the bomb.

Deke

about 8 years ago

Another 40 year resident of those cobblestone streets chimes in: AMEN. Absolutely ridiculous that Wallace Avenue, which is turning in to Dead Man's Curve (ever tried turning left off seventh street?) should be clogged at any time of the day, ever. Didn't someone die at the intersection of eighth and Wallace last year?

Holy Rosary should be ashamed, and so should the parishioners who have a massive parking lot with no one in it. I know because I've been to many services there--they park on the street to save 2.5 minutes of time getting out of a parking lot.

edgeways

about 8 years ago

Biz opportunity there ... valet church parking. Tra la.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

What if the people parking near the church itself are elders or have mobility issues?  What if they don't have "handicapped" stickers because they get a ride to church with family or friends on Sunday mornings?

I have a good friend on Wallace Ave and I agree that it is already dangerous.  I don't think anyone should park on the sidewalk, especially if they have a parking lot nearby. I'm just saying that there may be reasons for this no one has thought of since apparently no one mentioned the problem to the church.  

I agree Chief Ramsay is the Bomb for writing a letter in response on PDD, and being so reasonable in his comments.  

The church does not pay taxes, nor would the school.  However, there are no doubt many influential, so to speak, east-enders who do pay a lot of taxes that attend that church.  

EvilResident

about 8 years ago

"Handicapped" parking thingies are portable. My mom see to bring hers all the time when I'd drive her places.

digit3

about 8 years ago

A neighbor of mine one block away from HoRo has contacted the city and police several times about this parking issue. As it was explained to me, he was told that the city just kind of lets it go because it is only one day a week and they are there "for a good purpose." However when my friend asked why the Duluth East High School students do get ticketed for minor parking infractions and if the city viewed religion to be of a better purpose than education he was left with a blank stare.

pebble

about 8 years ago

I find it interesting that when there is a clear, illegal parking situation in front of a church, the DPD advises us: "concerns like this don't need to involve the police, but rather worked out between a church and neighbor," yet when I park illegally in front of my house, I just get slapped with a ticket.

SlimPickins

about 8 years ago

Here's an even easier solution: Don't take Wallace or Woodland on Saturdays and Sundays.  Clearly this situation has y'all slightly perturbed, so simply avoid the areas.  Problem solved.  I believe this would fall into the category of "If you don't like it, don't look."

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

If dozens of people are blatantly violating a law on a weekly basis, and the police department is flat-out refusing to enforce said law (even though the violation is presenting a safety hazard), I doubt they are going to stop any time soon.

Voluntary compliance? Why not just ticket them all three weeks in a row? That would put an end to it. How long does it take?

B-man

about 8 years ago

Hey SlimPickins, do you live in the area?  if not you are correct that not looking at it = no problem, for you.  This is a hyper local issue, and it seems you are not involved with it, so yeah it seems trivial to you.

Perspective.  

Let's pretend I, and 60 or so others come and park in your yard or block your driveway or sidewalk. Or maybe your dog is run over because you need to walk him/ her in the street to avoid the illegally parked cars.  Then would you say "oh well its just a dead dog.  I guess I will just avoid having dogs."

Does your sentiment seem odd in that respect?

Unless I'm mistaken, this is not a SlimPickins centric universe.

@ the OP- I forwarded a link to this post to the main contact at HRC via e-mail.  I hope they comment.

Matilda

about 8 years ago

"If you don't like it, don't look."

Are you serious?

If the people parking like this while ignoring the parking lot are not elderly, unable to walk half a block or infirm, they need to be slapped in the head. Telling us to "not take that road" or "don't look" is absurd. Learn to park, learn to walk, and stop imposing on the rest of us just because you're lazy and so eager to soak up your stupid church experience.

SlimPickins

about 8 years ago

So the only way out of your yard to walk lil' Fido is onto Wallace and out into the middle of the street?  I find this hard to believe, considering I know the area well.  I also have a tough time believing that people are parking in yards and blocking driveways, as the photos depict none of this activity.

Bottom line, B-Man: If you don't like where you live, move.  If you don't want your dog to get run over, don't walk it in crowded traffic areas.  And if you don't want Catholics parking on your side of the street, don't live near a Catholic Cathedral.  This has to be the most petty, insignificant discussion I've ever seen people get worked up about. 

emmadogs

about 8 years ago

Ummm--okay, and I guess that 'move if you don't like it' advice will be helpful to the poster who has raccoons in the abandoned house next door, and the poster with the pending gas line explosion; and let's toss out the loud-college-students-next-door ordinances, since those homeowners can just move too; and the bedbug whiners too;
also if you don't like Pawlenty/Bachmann/et al, just move from MN;
in fact, I guess this just about shuts down PDD. Just move!Or ... maybe just following the f*p#ing law and park in the parking lot like a good neighbor.

Tom

about 8 years ago

Yep, if you don't like somebody getting away with an illegal activity every week, the reasonable thing to do is move.  For example, if you don't like homes in your neighborhood being burglarized, don't call the police and work on a solution ... just move.  That'll fix everything.

todobrillante

about 8 years ago

If there's high school kids who have driver's licenses at the church then they should run a valet service for old people each week. The high school kids can drive the cars over to the lot after the elderly folks arrive on the steps. Maybe it even becomes a part of the confirmation/community service expectation that the church has of its youth. Sign them up for shifts.

BAM! I'll take my million dollars now!

TheMareBee

about 8 years ago

I'm late to this party- Here is my rant, minus my swear words: I live RIGHT behind the church on Lakeview and as a Catholic (my family & I belong to another neighborhood Catholic church) between the blatant disregard for walking into traffic at the corners(wait one moment frakin' go as a group not a steady stream of idiots walking one by one as cars are sitting there for 20 minutes trying to get thru) and the parking where ever they feel fit on 4th, Wallace and even Lakeview from time to time (I wish I still had the picture from last summers moron who parked DIRECTLY infront blocking my driveway, my only way to get my car out to go to my churches mass which I missed that day- for over an hour who nicely told me to "shut up" when I sat outside waiting from them to get out of mass- Nice Catholic family they were) I am fed up with that church and their officials.  I've nicely written letters, sent lovely cards asking them to remind people to park in the lot rather than the street, on sidewalks, I've called and politely voiced my opinion for over 3 years but I've been ignored every time.  So really if its not up to the police to ticket, City Officially to deal with and if the church continues to ignore the issue then its most likely a fight that will go on for years...

c-freak

about 8 years ago

I live near that area and it's fucking dangerous. Also, with the road construction that's been going on in Woodland and on 21st, that's the main thoroughfare to get down to the freeway.

B-man

about 8 years ago

@ SlimPickins  Your argument is rock solid.  What a brilliant mind you have.  So sorry to distrust your opinion as "truth" 

Anyone know where I can get some boxes?

Claire

about 8 years ago

MareBee, next time that happens, you should have them towed.

Lojasmo

about 8 years ago

The city should appropriate the unused land across the street, and sell it for revenue.

RK

about 8 years ago

Here's an update:

Both Chief Ramsay and our neighborhood liaison officer, Patrick Boyle, contacted me about the church parking situation. The chief suggested I take it up with the church before the police get involved. I was out of town for a couple days and the police went ahead and got involved anyhow: the liaison officer discussed it with the Holy Rosary priest, Fr. Peter Muhlich. In turn, I wrote the Father today and got an almost instant, polite and satisfying answer.

He said, in part, "While I cannot control people's parking behavior, I will do everything I can to persuade them to observe the no parking areas and will remind them that they will be ticketed in the future if they park illegally."

What more can we ask?

bluenewt

about 8 years ago

That's great that Fr. Muhlich was responsive. Thanks for letting us know.

As for what more we could ask: How about asking a volunteer to stand out front for a few minutes before mass to stop people from parking there? Or getting a volunteer to put polite reminders on the windshields of illegally parked cars?

c-freak

about 8 years ago

Update: I just got home from work and the lot was packed. Not one car on Wallace. Winning.

Claire

about 8 years ago

I drove by there this evening and the lots were indeed packed, as was both sides of 4th Street. I hope the problem is solved. Why in the hell were people there this evening? I'm Catholic and I don't have a clue.

bluenewt

about 8 years ago

I think it was a wedding. And it's true. I saw only one illegally parked car (wrong side of 5th),  and I don't know if that person was even at the church. Nobody was illegally parked on Wallace. Somehow the people at the church must have figured out a way to get the word out. So, maybe instead of an indignant letter, I'll send a letter of thanks.

bluenewt

about 7 years ago

Holy Rosary is back to its old habits. Cars are parked all along Wallace, under the "no parking" signs, and the parking lot is half full. A jerk I talked to insisted he's allowed to park there during funerals, which he isn't. This is an even bigger bummer than usual, because a number of nearby streets were wrecked in the flood, so traffic is extra-heavy on Wallace.

BadCat!

about 7 years ago

Start calling tow trucks to get all the illegal parkers out of there. That will get them behaving right quick!

in.dog.neato

about 7 years ago

Perhaps they're banking on short-term memory loss?

I say tow 'em. They had their chance. They got their warnings.

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