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Street sweeping begins Monday in St. Paul and Tuesday in Minneapolis, and city officials are a bit concerned that residents will be caught off guard.

Both cities as usual will install temporary “No Parking” signs at least 24 hours before curb-to-curb cleaning takes place to warn drivers to move their vehicles. But with people spending more time at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, “they are not moving their cars as much” and could easily miss the signs, said Lisa Hiebert with the St. Paul Department of Public Works.

City workers ran into that problem over the summer, when vehicles were left on streets during seal coating, Hiebert said.

St. Paul prohibits parking in the same spot for more than 48 consecutive hours, so drivers should be moving their vehicles on a regular basis anyway. The “No Parking” signs are a key communication tool and something drivers should be looking for, Hiebert said.

Besides signs, the city plans to post about street sweeping on its social media accounts and will publish a cleaning schedule at stpaul.gov/sweep. Vehicles not moved when sweepers come through could be ticketed — and even towed.

“There is a much better way to spend your money and time,” Hiebert said.

It’s the same drill in Minneapolis, where the first “No Parking” signs will go up Monday and the first sweepers plan to hit the streets Tuesday.

The city will augment the signs with messages on its Facebook and Twitter accounts and with information on its website at minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/street­sweeping.

The city will make about 3,000 automated phone calls each evening to let residents know their street will be swept the next day.

“There’s no guarantee that the calls will reach everyone, so residents should be sure to check the various ways to be aware of the rules, and watch for signs,” according to a city e-mail. Vehicles left on streets with the “No Parking” signs may be ticketed and towed.

Officials with both cities say it will take about a month to sweep about 1,000 miles of streets (and some alleys in St. Paul). Having cars off the street helps the sweeping go more smoothly and pick up as much dirt and debris as possible, Hiebert said.

“They spray down the street, then a sweeper comes with a second right behind it. Then they dump it all in a dump truck,” she said. “It’s actually quite fun to watch.”

Residents shouldn’t push leaves or other lawn waste into the gutter. That is a big no-no, and it’s a big problem too, Hiebert said.

Slower speeds

Drivers will start seeing new “Gateway” signs at the borders of Minneapolis and St. Paul alerting them of the new 20 mph speed limits on residential streets. Once the signs are up, in about six weeks, the speed limit on local residential streets will be officially lowered.

Minneapolis has installed 1,235 updated signs on streets with speed limits lowered to 25 mph. Crews in St. Paul have put up about 750 new signs.

However, neither city will be posting 20 mph signs on residential streets, said Minneapolis city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie.

Reducing speed limits is one of the strategies in the Minneapolis Vision Zero Action Plan, which outlines key steps for the next three years to advance the city’s goal of ending traffic deaths and injuries on city streets by 2027.

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