February 28, 2019 10:12 PM
St. Louis Park city officials announced Thursday that winter parking restrictions will go into effect Friday in the city.
Starting at 8 a.m., drivers must move their parked vehicles from the even-numbered side of streets. Those who do not move their vehicles will be ticketed or towed.
City officials said parking on the odd-numbered side of the street is allowed.
During a snow emergency while winter parking restrictions are in place, officials said vehicles must be parked off the street until the street is plowed to the curb.
Winter parking restrictions are being implemented to help drivers of larger vehicles, including snowplows and emergency vehicles, move along city streets more easily.
“I’ve seen firetrucks and ambulances struggle to get down because it's so narrow during the wintertime,” said Catherine Tolman, who lives on Georgia Ave. S.
She’s lived there since 1992 and told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she’s never seen the conditions this bad. She welcomes the parking restrictions.
“I’m totally excited about it,” said Tolman. “With all of this snow, it's dangerous and it's awful.”
The ban affects more than a dozen roads.
Fire Chief Steve Koering said the snow piles are narrowing the roads and so are drivers. He told us people tend to leave extra space to get out of their vehicle.
“You can see the difference, how narrow it gets,” he said.
It forces ambulances and firetrucks to find another route.
”If we're delayed, we have to go around to navigate back toward the property, or we have to stop at the corner and lay hand lines or lines up to the house,” he said, “that takes precious time, a fire doubles in size every 30 seconds.”
St. Louis Park's restriction follows a similar ban in Minneapolis. St. Paul has also banned parking on the even side of about 15 streets.
We asked Chief Koering if there is a precedent for the restriction.
“Many of these same streets were posted in 2014, during that snow,” he said. “We just think it's a public safety crisis at this point.”
Officials said the restrictions will be in place until April 1 "or until further notice from the city."
“I think it’s a good plan,” said John Hitt, who lives in an affected neighborhood. “There has to be some kind of solution.”
He told us the snow has created difficult driving conditions.
“It’s snowed so much back-to-back-to-back, the snow backs up and it fills the roads a little bit more,” said Hitt. “But for the most part, it hasn't been too big of an issue, they've been pretty good with the plows.”
Rebecca Omastiak & Callan Gray
Updated: February 28, 2019 10:12 PM
Created: February 28, 2019 10:57 AM
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