Plows clearing around the clock, parked cars remain a challenge

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From your home town, to state agencies, crews are hard at work to clear roads following this week’s major winter storm.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) says their drivers are on 12-hour shifts, working to clear snow down to the pavement — at that point MNDOT says they’ll start removing snow from the shoulders and bridges, working well into the weekend.

For local municipalities, parked cars remain one of the biggest challenges for snow plow drivers.

“I won’t lie. It’s been stressful, you know, especially with [this] snow event,” Russ Schneewind, snow plow driver for Minnetonka’s public works department, said.

Thursday, Schneewind worked an 11-hour shift. His role as a snow plow driver is about as fitting as possible — his last name ‘Schneewind’ is German for “snow wind.”

“Seeing the satisfaction of the residents [when] they give me a wave, or the arm pump,” he said about his favorite part of his job.

As for the most challenging part of his job, Schneewind said cars that are parked on the road.

To help their plow drivers with that same concern, the Twin Cities opened free parking lots and ramps for residents to get their cars off the road.

Snow Emergencies

Below are the locations in Minneapolis offering free parking until Tuesday at midnight and their capacity as of 1 p.m. Thursday:

  • Farmers Market Lot, 225 East Lyndale Ave. — 40% capacity of 309 total spaces
  • Salvation Army Lot, 601 North 4th St. — 60% capacity of 332 total spaces
  • Basilica Lot, 13 North 17th St. — 60% capacity of 183 spaces
  • Vineland Ramp, 727 Vineland Place — FULL (671 spaces)
  • Lyn-Lake Lot, 2940 Garfield Ave S. — FULL (118 spaces)

RELATED: Hundreds take advantage of free parking in Twin Cities amid snow emergencies

Additionally, both Seven Points Parking Ramp and MoZaic Art Parking Ramp are offering free parking through 7 p.m. Sunday, and Minneapolis has discounted $1 per day parking from 6 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday at Ramp A, although event rates remain from 4-8 p.m. over the weekend.

Below is a list of the ramps available for free parking in St. Paul until Saturday at noon:

  • Lowertown Ramp, 316 Jackson St.
  • Robert St. Ramp, 95 E. 7th St. — Enter after 4 p.m. and exit by 8 a.m.; ramp closes at 10 p.m.
  • Block 19 Ramp, 145 E. 7th St.
  • Smith Ramp (145 Smith Street)
  • Kellogg Underground Ramp (129 Kellogg Boulevard)
  • Lawson Ramp (10 West 6th Street)
  • 7A Ramp (13 West Exchange Street)
  • World Trade Center Ramp (477 Cedar Street)

Additionally, the City of St. Paul announced a list of rec center lots that are open for parking until Sunday at 5 p.m. More information is available on the city’s website.

Both cities remain in snow emergencies through most of the day Friday. More details on the snow emergencies and parking restrictions can be found here.

Minneapolis says 595 tickets were issued for snow emergency violations Wednesday and 194 of those were towed. St. Paul says 687 vehicles were tagged Wednesday and 243 were towed.