Confused by parking restrictions? You’re not alone

Winter parking restrictions in Minneapolis confuse students parking in Dinkytown, but some streets are impassable for first responders without restrictions.

Cameron Eller removes a parking ticket he got after being confused about where he should park because of Minneapolis' winter parking restrictions on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Eller received the ticket a day before, but had been leaving it on his car for

Dylan Anderson

Cameron Eller removes a parking ticket he got after being confused about where he should park because of Minneapolis’ winter parking restrictions on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Eller received the ticket a day before, but had been leaving it on his car for “keepsake.”

Dylan Anderson

University of Minnesota student Julia Hamburger has been parking on Dinkytown streets for four years without ever getting a ticket. Her streak is now over.

“In the past two days, I got three tickets,” she said. “It’s been a fun winter.”

While winter parking restrictions went into place on Feb. 27, students are still confused about where they can park without returning to find a ticket. Some students don’t see the need for additional restrictions, but first responders say they’re essential to make streets passable.

Of the nearly 2,000 tickets given in Minneapolis in the first week the parking restrictions were implemented, 129 were given in the Southeast Como and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods, according to City data. Twenty-one cars were towed in these neighborhoods.

“If you’re parked on both sides even when there is no snow, it is kind of tight for us,” said Daniel Casper, a Minneapolis Fire Department captain serving the areas around the University. “With snow, it is literally impossible to get through.”

Casper said areas around the University are even tougher because of high traffic volumes and near-constant construction. When they can’t pass through, he said they have to sometimes put their hoses farther away, which is “less than ideal.”

“If you have an emergency, especially a fire, situated just in the wrong spot, you might really struggle to get there,” Casper said. “That would just slow everything down.”

Chris Lautenschlager, executive director of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, said restrictions are important for the safety of residents in the area.  

“You need to be able to get emergency vehicles in and out of any neighborhood,” he said. “That was proving difficult in most neighborhoods that I saw, because of parking on both sides of the road.”

Large snow banks on street corners and tighter lanes lead to less visibility for cars and pedestrians alike, Lautenschlager said. The parking restrictions help curb some of these problems and make everyone safer, but he said it can still be confusing. 

“If you have lived here for three months or 30 years, you just never get used to it,” he said.

Although the restrictions are necessary for the safety of residents, many students are still confused. Hamburger flagged down Jose Bonete, a traffic control agent for Minneapolis Regulatory Services who was ticketing vehicles in Dinkytown on Saturday, to help her understand the rules and avoid a fourth ticket.

Bonete said areas like Dinkytown with various parking signs can make the restrictions especially confusing. But he said parking signs override winter restrictions.

“If you see a sign, do what the sign says wherever you go,” Bonete said. “If there is no signs, don’t be on the even side.”

 Clarification: A previous version of this article mischaracterized the number of tickets and tows. Nearly 2,000 tickets were given throughout the city in the first week.