Minneapolis to impose one-sided street parking ordinance; St. Paul won’t…for now

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Director of Public Works Margaret Anderson Kelliher announced that starting tomorrow — Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. — Minneapolis will transition to one-sided parking.

The heavy accumulation of snow has narrowed city streets, posing a safety risk when emergency vehicles cannot navigate these streets to reach people in need of assistance.

“With 52 inches of snow so far, four snow emergencies in six weeks, and a heck of a lot of snow cleared to the curb, we’ve decided, and I’ve decided and declared, that starting tomorrow at 9 p.m. , due to public safety concerns, we will be moving to one-sided parking in Minneapolis,” Kelliher said.

Starting tomorrow, cars will no longer be allowed to park on even sides of Minneapolis streets on snow-free emergency routes. Some streets may have additional signage due to additional restrictions on those streets. Ticketing and towing will begin tomorrow after 9 p.m. The new parking ordinance will be in effect until April 1, the official end of Minnesota’s snow season.

“If we get significant warming sooner than that, and we feel the need to talk to our partners, and we have enough passage, we can pull it off sooner,” Kelliher said.

The heavy snowfall has also impacted school bus routes, causing massive stops and delays. During one of the most recent snow-related emergencies, Minneapolis Public Schools Transportation Executive Director Lisa Beck recalled that “nineteen buses had to be rescued by tow trucks and mechanics.” City officials hope this new parking ordinance will solve that problem as well.

“I’m just going to acknowledge that it’s awkward for people and we understand that.” Margaret Anderson Kelliher commented at a press conference on the new order this morning, “We hope people can work together to make sure people are safe.”

Odessia Schmidt serves hot coffee at The Boiler Room Coffee Company in Stevens Square and is constantly on the lookout for parking.

“It looks like we’re going to lose about half of our parking spaces, which is already a bit difficult in this area and specifically in this block too. Sometimes I’m late for work because I can’t find a space parking lot. It’s going to make it harder, that’s for sure,” Schmidt said.

St. Paul officials say they won’t declare a unilateral parking ban… yet.

“We continue to work on residential streets to keep them safe and accessible for our emergency vehicles and school buses,” said St. Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw. “The recent declaration of a snow emergency has given us needed width on our streets in many areas, but has also exposed the sea ice which presents other challenges for all types of mobility on our streets.”

A number of St. Paul residents have complained in recent weeks that St. Paul plows were unable to cope with the significant amounts of snowa situation for which city officials have apologized.