Minneapolis going to 1-sided parking to ensure streets are passable for emergency vehicles

Parking restrictions are set to go into effect Thursday in Minneapolis.

Wednesday, multiple city leaders discussed the state of roads within Minneapolis and noted travel has become difficult on them due to snow and ice, especially for emergency vehicles.

To help remedy that, Minneapolis Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher said the city will go to one-sided parking starting at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26. At that time, ticketing and towing of vehicles violating the restrictions will also go into effect.

That means there will be no parking allowed on even the sides of streets that are on non-snow emergency routes. Parking will still be allowed on both sides of snow emergency routes unless a snow emergency is declared.

Minneapolis City Council member Jason Chavez said that residents can call 311 to request an exemption for their disability parking zone.

According to the city of Minneapolis, the snow accumulation is causing a safety hazard, with emergency vehicles not being able to get through the streets to help those in need of help.

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“This is inconvenient for people and we understand that,” Kelliher said, adding that she hopes people can work together so streets can be cleared for public safety reasons.

“When there’s an emergency, whether it be a fire or medical emergency, seconds matter,” Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said.

“It is inconvenient but I believe it will make the city safer,” Tyner added.

One-sided parking will remain in effect until further notice. If noted lifted sooner by the city, it will officially expire on April 1, the city says.

Kelliher cited the heavy snowfall and cold temperatures, as well as the fact that warmer temperatures aren’t in the forecast for the foreseeable future, as reasons for the decision.

“Although we haven’t been unusually cold — or normally cold — it’s been cold enough that it created this situation for the ice ruts on the streets,” Kelliher said.

Additional information on winter parking in Minneapolis can be found online.

Early Wednesday afternoon, members of St. Paul’s Public Works Department said the city wasn’t issuing a one-sided parking ban as of this time, despite the streets being packed with snow and narrowing.

“We do not need to do a citywide one-sided parking ban- yet,” said Sean Kershaw, the St. Paul Public Works Director in a prepared statement. “We continue to work on the residential streets to keep them safe and passible for our emergency vehicles and school buses. The recent snow emergency declaration gave us some needed width on our streets in many areas, but also exposed the ice pack which as other challenges for all types of mobility on our streets.”

The department acknowledged they are closely monitoring the snowpack and narrowed streets, saying they are working to keep arterial streets clear in the driving lanes. They are also working to widen residential streets.

The City’s public works department says there may be no parking signs posted on one side of the street in certain areas or declare a one-sided parking ban in the future – but only if there is additional snow accumulation, or plow drivers aren’t able to widen residential streets to keep them safe and passible for emergency vehicles.

“We realize that on-street parking is a necessity for tens of thousands of St. Paul residents,” Kershaw added. “A one-sided parking ban would make tough parking situations even harder for everyone, but we advise people to start exploring any alternative parking options in your neighborhood now.”

St. Paul residents can report concerns about street conditions by calling 651-266-9700 and choosing option 2.

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