Minneapolis will institute one-sided parking for most residential side streets starting Thursday night.
The restrictions — dreaded by some, welcomed by others — are needed to ensure emergency vehicles and school buses can navigate perilously narrow streets, officials said Wednesday.
The parking ban on the even-numbered side of many side streets comes in the grips of a winter of especially snowy discontent: The city has seen 52 inches fall so far, declared four snow emergencies and sees no thaw on the horizon as it heads into the historically snowiest stretch of winter.
St. Paul, which tends to have wider streets, is not declaring any citywide restrictions.
Here are the rules for the new Minneapolis winter parking restrictions, which will start at 9 p.m. Thursday:
- On streets that are not snow emergency routes, parking will be banned on the even-numbered side. There is no change to parking on the odd-numbered side.
- Some other narrow streets might have additional temporary restrictions, which will be marked with signs.
- Violators could be ticketed and towed to a city impound lot.
- On snow emergency routes, parking is allowed on both sides (unless a snow emergency is declared).
- If a snow emergency is declared, these special rules will be suspended and regular snow emergency restrictions will be in place.
What about disability parking?
Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for people with special mobility needs, such as those with disability parking zones in front of their homes. Call 311.
How long will this last?
It could last until April 1, although the city can cancel the new rules before then — and officials hope to if conditions improve.
Has this been done before?
Yes. The last time these restrictions were put in place was in February 2019. They were lifted in mid-March.
Will this allow more snow to be cleared?
"We are about as wide as we can get right now," Minneapolis Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher said Wednesday.
Kelliher emphasized that city crews continue to respond to problem spots reported by residents, school officials and city workers.
But a recent warm spell failed to melt much snow, and the recent drop in temperatures has more or less solidified things beyond the capabilities of traditional plows.
"There are no warm temperatures on the horizon," she said, noting that subzero air is en route.
She said public works is aware of the poor conditions of many side streets and alleys, which have evolved from snow-packed to increasingly icy and rutted this winter.
Is this really needed?
Kelliher and others acknowledged the headaches that will result from the restrictions.
There is no city-sponsored plan to allow residents to store cars safely off the street. Kelliher urged neighbors and businesses to cooperate to share available parking spaces where feasible.
The strict rules are supported by Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner, Hennepin Emergency Medical Services Chief Martin Scheerer, and Minneapolis Public Schools Chief of Finance and Operations Ibrahima Diop, all of whom attended a news conference with Kelliher to announced the decision Wednesday.
All three men said their vehicles — fire trucks, ambulances and school buses — have been delayed by streets so narrowed that they're sometimes impassable.
"A school bus can't always back up safely," Diop said.
Tyner and Scheerer said response times for fire trucks and ambulances typically increase as road conditions worsen. No tragedies have happened, something the city hopes to avoid.
"This is for the overall public safety, if we have a fire, or if we have a heart attack," Kelliher said.