MINNEAPOLIS -- New winter parking rules are now in effect in Minneapolis and the rules will last for the rest of the season.
The new regulations mean parking will be completely banned on the even side of non-snow emergency routes until April 1, unless significant snow melt or improving conditions allow the city to lift the ban earlier. People who don't follow the new rules will be ticketed and towed.
There are additional restrictions on Bryant and Grand Aves. in southwest Minneapolis because those streets pose challenges to emergency responders. Parking is prohibited on the even-numbered sides of those streets. It will be banned on Bryant Ave. from Lake St. to 50th St., and on Grand Ave. from Lake St. to 48th St. Both are snow emergency routes.
Police Chief Tim Dolan and Public Works Director Steve Kotke made the decision to enact permanent winter parking restrictions, saying current conditions demand taking this step so public safety crews can safely and swiftly reach every home and business in Minneapolis.
Last weekend a fire engine became stuck in the snow on its way to what became a fatal fire.
"For us, we're dealing with life safety. Every second counts. The snow already slows us down and then you compound that with narrow streets because of snow," says Minneapolis Fire Chief Alex Jackson.
Minneapolis officials say they recognize that Winter Parking Restrictions are challenging for residents, and insist that the decision to take this step was not made lightly.
Last weekend's storm was an event of historic proportions, measuring as the fifth largest snow event in Minneapolis history, and the largest December snowfall ever.
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The city was forced to call two snow emergencies to deal with the snowy deluge.
As a result, many streets throughout Minneapolis have narrowed significantly which is making it challenging for fire engines, ambulances and other emergency vehicles to get through residential streets.
While the restrictions will no doubt be inconvenient, many drivers agree with city officials and hope the plows can do more the clear away the snow still cloggin many streets.
"Now with the parking restrictions, it's going to be easier, but the city needs to get the snow emergency routes wider...particularly on Hennepin Ave. near 31st street. It's impassable if a bus comes," says Minneapolis resident Nick Burlow.
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