Clarifying parking rules

There is a simple solution to the snow emergency problem: street signs.

During two snow emergencies in the past two weeks, Minneapolis towed 4,266 vehicles from its streets âÄî far too many. For vehicle owners, the situation was particularly maddening: make a trek to a dreary impound lot, wait in line up to five hours and pay an unreasonable fine to retrieve a vehicle that the lot might have dumped into one of the unmonitored and unprotected overflow areas. And for the city, a snow emergency is a quagmire. It must first decide whether to declare a snow emergency, then get the message out to residents and coordinate plowing. And disgracefully, Minneapolis doesnâÄôt make money after the hassle. The funds go to the coffers of five mercenary towing companies âÄî the only party to benefit from a snow emergency. In face of this exasperating affair, the city has been making commendable efforts to employ different communication media to warn residents about snow emergencies âÄî and it should continue to do so. Nevertheless, there is a simpler solution to mending the snow emergency dilemma: street signs. Mike Kennedy, director of transportation maintenance and repair for Minneapolis Public Works, admitted that the current signage system is complicated. There are snow emergency route signs for streets plowed on the first day of a snow emergency. But for the next two days, snow emergency routes are marked by the color of the street-name sign and which side of the street is plowed. The city should instead install snow emergency route signs on all streets indicating what day of the emergency cars cannot park. (“Do not park on day two of snow emergency,” is one suggestion.) ItâÄôs a privilege to park in Minneapolis, yet the rules should be apparent. And current numbers indicate that the city and its motorists would only benefit from a little clarity.