Public Works prepares plan to clear record snow from St. Paul residential roads

Two weeks after a record-breaking storm, in a record-breaking winter for snowfall, several residential roads in St. Paul remain slippery and lined with ruts.

Some took advantage of the Monday holiday and warmer temperature to clear the sidewalks and driveways they’re responsible for. Now, they’re waiting for the city to come in and do its part.

“St. Paul’s always had a hard time with snow removal, snow emergencies,” resident Richard Toetschinger said. “This morning when I turned into my garage, I had to stop and back up and come in because it’s just so icy right here.”

Toetschinger spent the latter part of the morning working to clear that issue and scooping up the snow that had fallen in heaps from his roof.

He’s no stranger to Minnesota winters and the inevitable clean-up. He’s lived in his east St. Paul home for 18 years and is one of few in the neighborhood blessed with garage parking. Most rely on street parking, Toetschinger said, which is true for a lot of residential St. Paul.

“So the difficulties happen when the cars don’t move, and then the snow doesn’t get removed, and then it gets packed down,” he said.

Street parking inherently creates a trickier snow removal process, made even more tricky in a record-breaking snow season, St. Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw explained.

“What we have to do in a city like St. Paul, where people need the streets to park, is navigate around cars. We have to make sure we don’t throw the snow on the sidewalks, so our teams do a good job and have been working really hard. We’ve just had a lot of snow,” Kershaw said.

He and the department were preparing for the start of a four-day clean-up effort that does involve moving cars parked on the street. The coordinated effort isn’t something the city resorts to every year.

“We want to get in and finish the job,” Kershaw said.

Tuesday, the plows will tackle the north side of east-west residential streets, so those parked on the north side — typically odd-numbered houses — need to move between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Wednesday, the same goes for the south side of east-west residential streets.

Thursday and Friday, the city is taking care of the north-south residential streets, so all parked cars should be moved off of the east side — typically even-numbered houses — on Thursday.

On Friday, parking is not allowed on the west side of north-south residential streets.

Toetschinger said he’s not used to seeing parking rules enforced, and without that, he fears there will still be rough patches.

“I hate to say it. Yeah, I mean you end up … People do it, they do move their vehicles, the majority of them, but there’s a couple that don’t, and then you end up with those situations there,” he said pointing to built-up snow and ice on the road in front of his home.

Expect enforcement this week, Kershaw said. He said the city is also asking people to report cars that need to be moved.

“If a car has been in the same spot for more than 48 hours or is abandoned or has not moved since the last snowfall, it could be ticketed and towed,” he elaborated.

Click here for more details about snow removal in St. Paul and Minneapolis.