With roads clogged with snow, Minneapolis to begin unilateral on-street parking rules

With roads clogged with snow, Minneapolis to begin unilateral on-street parking rules

Minneapolis officials announced the city would implement unilateral on-street parking rules starting Thursday night, in response to a much snowier-than-usual winter that made some roads impassable for buses and vehicles. ’emergency.

As of 9 p.m. Thursday, parking will not be permitted on the even side of streets that are snow-free emergency lanes. Any vehicle violating winter parking restrictions will be ticketed or towed.

During winter parking restrictions, people are allowed to park on both sides of most emergency lanes and parkways where parking is permitted, although the city may post temporary “no parking” signs.

The rules are expected to remain in place until April 1, but could be lifted earlier if weather conditions allow.

Announcing the new parking restrictions on Wednesday, Minneapolis Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher said the city had seen 52 inches of snow this season, which she said led to “lots of snow being cleared up ‘on the sidewalk’.

Kelliher acknowledged winter parking restrictions are an inconvenience, but said they are necessary in the interest of public safety.

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“If there’s a fire, if somebody has a heart attack, we have to lay out the streets so that big vehicles can go through them,” Kelliher said. “And, of course, we don’t want kids sitting on school buses for long periods of time.”

Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said the response time of his fire rigs has been affected by road conditions.

“When there’s an emergency, whether it’s a fire or a medical emergency, seconds matter, and certainly minutes matter,” Tyner said. “The amount of snow we had, combined with the two-sided parking, made many of these side streets impassable for our fire platforms, as well as many other vehicles. »

School buses were also affected, Minneapolis Public Schools Chief of Finance and Operations Ibrahima Diop said. The school district said a storm in early January left a record 19 Minneapolis school buses stuck in snow and ice.

“Quite frankly, if a bus is blocked, it means that students will arrive late for school. This is not good for good learning, and we believe that the safety of students on these buses will be enhanced by this measure. said Diop.

Minneapolis has called four snow emergencies in the past six weeks, Kelliher said, and crews are still working hard to improve conditions on residential streets, but the weather hasn’t cooperated.

“We had hoped for maybe a bit warmer weather, a bit of sunshine, that would have given us the opportunity to widen the streets more – that hasn’t happened in the last ten days,” Kelliher said. . “We’re about as wide as we can get right now, so it’s important to make the streets passable, especially for public safety vehicles.”

St. Paul, which has called more snow emergencies than Minneapolis, has yet to declare winter parking restrictions. St. Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw said the latest snow emergency they declared helped them widen streets, but city officials are monitoring the situation.

Facing questions about Minneapolis’ snow removal efforts, Kelliher described a recent storm that she said had high moisture content, which meant residential streets had turned to ‘concrete-bound’ ice by the time where the plows had ended with the arteries. She said crews are doing their best to break up ruts in residential roads.

If a snow emergency is declared in Minneapolis, Kelliher said parking restrictions will be temporarily lifted and typical snow emergency parking rules will apply. At the end of the snow emergency, the ban on parking on the even side of emergency lanes without snow will resume.

The last time Minneapolis declared winter parking restrictions was late February 2019 and it lasted less than a month.

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