Snow emergency parking restrictions eased by City Council

Travis Reed

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously Friday to loosen snow emergency parking restrictions.

The change will allow residents to park on streets that have been fully plowed even if a snow emergency is still in effect. It’s designed to alleviate parking troubles in high-population areas and eliminate confusion about where residents can and cannot park.

Previously, the law allowed towing contractors to pull vehicles from fully-cleared streets that did not need plowing if a snow emergency still was in effect.

Dave Almeida could have used the change a few years ago. The political science senior says he’s been towed three or four times in the past two years from the streets around Seven Corners Apartments, where he lives.

“It’s so hard to find parking places around the ‘U.’ And when you do get towed, they’re just astronomical prices,” Almeida said.

However, he said he wondered whether everyone would agree on the definition of “fully plowed.”

Some City Council members wondered the same thing. But city public works officials said the department will work more intently on getting individual streets cleared by running plows in quicker succession.

Some wanted a more dramatic overhaul of the snow emergency system. Mayor R.T. Rybak and Ward 2 Council member Paul Zerby pushed for a plan that would complete plowing in 24 hours instead of three days.

But the measure lost support after speculation it would cost too much to implement.

Zerby said he has received concern from constituents, including University students, about parking problems, but no one specifically focused on changing snow emergency rules.

According to city statutes, snow emergencies must be called by the police chief and city engineer. For the first 11 hours after the declaration, parking is prohibited on either side of streets labeled “Snow Emergency Route.”

For the next two days, parking is restricted on either the odd or even sides of all other streets until the streets are cleared.

The Minneapolis snow emergency hotline, 612-348-7669, is frequently updated to explain where residents can and cannot park after declaration of a snow emergency.


Travis Reed welcomes comments at [email protected]