Spring street sweeping to begin this week near U

by Mary Stegmeir

Spring street sweeping could reduce already limited street parking surrounding the University starting this week.

Minneapolis Public Works hopes to begin the project Tuesday. Signs will be posted on the city streets scheduled to be swept each day, warning drivers to park elsewhere to avoid ticketing or towing. The schedule for sweeping specific streets is not entirely set, but the signs are typically posted days in advance.

Although sweeping sometimes creates a parking crunch, the city-wide four-week project is necessary to protect the environment, said Garret Preussner, Public Works foreman of street maintenance and repair.

“It’s to get the sand up so it doesn’t go into the sewers and get into the river,” he said.

Preussner said some of the sand has oil residue, and those grains can reach the Mississippi River if allowed to filter into Minneapolis storm sewers.

City officials say about 5,000 cars in Minneapolis are usually towed during street sweeping.

Many of the vehicles impounded during street sweeping are towed from areas of high population density like the University, Preussner said.

“I know (the University) has tight parking,” he said. “But it really helps us if students move their cars.”

“We’d be happy if we didn’t have to tow one car,” Preussner said. “I know it’s really expensive.”

He said students should look for signs around Minneapolis starting early next week. Parking will be prohibited in posted areas from 7 a.m. until the signs are removed.

“It’s one of those times when there are a lot of vehicles towed,” said Sara Dietrich of the Minneapolis Communications Department. “You are running the risk of having your car towed if you don’t follow the signs.”

When a car is found parked in the posted areas, the vehicle can be ticketed and towed or just ticketed.

The tickets typically run around $20. Towing costs $125 and an additional $15 is charged for each night the car spends in the impound lot.

To retrieve a car from the impound lot, owners must bring proof of insurance, vehicle registration, their license plate number and a current driver’s license.

If the car owner has more than five unpaid parking tickets, the fines must be paid before their car is returned.

Shelly Williams, a junior scientist with the University stem cell institute, said as a Minneapolis resident she frequently moves her car from street to street to avoid being ticketed.

“The street sweeping is usually well-marked days before they are going to do it so you know it’s coming,” she said.

Several University commuters said past street sweepings made them change their parking habits.

“Last semester I had to walk two or three blocks more,” said Rachel Vroman, a sophomore architecture student who usually parks in the Como neighborhood.

“Everyone kind of shifted,” she said. “It’s something you just put up with.”

Mary Stegmeir welcomes comments at [email protected]