Twin Cities

Mpls., St. Paul offered parking deals to help clear streets. Did it work?

Cars parked in the Farmers Market Lot
Cars parked in the Farmers Market lot in Minneapolis on Wednesday. City officials opened up several off-street lots for residents to park their vehicles during the winter storm.
Stephen Maturen for MPR News

Updated: 12:24 p.m.

After a two-day storm that left around a foot of new snow, Minneapolis and St. Paul officials say a new approach to on-street parking may have helped plows to do their work faster.

In Minneapolis, the city offered free and discounted parking at a number of lots and ramps. About 1,250 people moved their cars there. Ramp A near Target Field had about 3,500 spaces still available for $1 per day as of Thursday afternoon.

The city of Minneapolis had 68 pieces of equipment out on Thursday, the second day of that city’s snow emergency, according to spokesperson Sarah McKenzie. Snow removal crews worked on the sides of streets with even-numbered addresses and were planning to clear the odd-sides Friday. That followed multiple rounds of alley plowing.

By late Thursday, Minneapolis had ticketed 2,112 and towed 329 vehicles, which officials say was a lower number than during the holiday storm.

Minneapolis on Friday morning called another snow emergency, ordering drivers not to park on either side of snow emergency routes from 9 p.m. through 8 a.m. Saturday. Winter parking restrictions resume Saturday.

In St. Paul, Sean Kershaw, the public works director, said around 750 people parked for free in the ramps downtown. He said it was a big help for plow drivers.

St. Paul issued rare, back-to-back snow emergencies. The city plows on a two-day, rather than a three-day cycle. City crews took a second pass over the night plow routes Thursday night.

“The goal going forward is to get as much of the snow cleaned as possible,” Kershaw said. “So it’s critical that people keep taking advantage of those lots, keep moving their cars, because we will do a pass on all of these streets again.”

Residents were encouraged to park in cleared St. Paul recreation center lots.

Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said traffic was way down on roads, helping plows get through highway clearing faster and with fewer crashes. They credited people staying home from jobs and school.

Minneapolis public schools are in e-learning since Wednesday through Friday.

St. Paul public schools were in e-learning Wednesday and Thursday. The district called a snow day for Friday.

Hannah Yang contributed reporting for this story.

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