Minneapolis to implement extended parking ban

Parking restrictions in Minneapolis will stick around until April -- unless warmer temperatures melt enough of the snow piled on city streets.

City officials planned a news conference Wednesday to talk about the winter rule, which will ban parking on the even-numbered sides of all streets that aren't snow emergency routes.

Fire Chief Alex Jackson also plans to demonstrate how the piles of snow and parked cars are making it difficult for fire trucks to fit through some city streets.

"They've gotten extremely narrowed because of just the nature of the winter we've had so far," said Mike Kennedy, director of transportation, maintenance and repair for the city's public works department.

Kennedy said snow totals for the city aren't out of the ordinary, but it's been cold enough that the snow just keeps piling up.

"Every time we plow we lose a little bit of street width," he said. "We have the horsepower to push the snow all the way over, but then we're burying sidewalks and doing property damage, and we can't do that."

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The last time Minneapolis put the winter parking rules in place was 2001.

Minneapolis residents are under the second day of the city's three-day snow emergency. The winter parking restrictions will take effect Thursday at 8 a.m.

A snow emergency is also in effect in St. Paul, but officials there don't have the authority Minneapolis public works officials have to implement such a ban.

"We've tried a couple of times to do some voluntary parking restrictions, but it just didn't work out too well," said Kevin Nelson, street and bridge maintenance engineer for the St. Paul Public Works Department.

Nelson said past experiences like that are partly why the city decided to wait to declare a snow emergency until Tuesday, a day later than many Minnesota cities.

"We wanted to make sure the snow was done and the wind was calm, and that we could do a good job on the residential streets the first time through," he said.

In Minneapolis, extended parking restrictions could be especially inconvenient for residents near the University of Minnesota campus and in Uptown, where many residents of apartment buildings and large houses rely heavily on street parking.