Overwhelmed by more than 3 feet of snow in recent weeks, the city of St. Paul said Sunday it’s tightening winter parking restrictions for residents and visitors starting at noon Monday.
Parking will be banned on the side of residential streets with even-numbered addresses, city officials said at a news conference at Fire Department headquarters.
The restriction will remain in place until April 1 but might end earlier if road conditions improve. Violators run the risk of their vehicles being ticketed and towed.
The move gives fire trucks and other large emergency response vehicles enough room to get down streets on critical calls.
“This is an unusual step that we’re taking,” Mayor Melvin Carter said, adding that the restriction was last imposed in March 2014. “We’ve tried to avoid this as long as possible.”
Public Works Director Kathy Lantry acknowledged that the move is going to be inconvenient for people.
“I think we’re going to have to tell people we’ve chosen public safety over inconvenience,” she said.
After Friday’s snow emergency, the latest of six this winter season, it was clear that vehicles had trouble getting through a majority of streets because snow is piled up along the curbs and into the streets. Only one car can get through at a time in many places, she said.
Residents could get a $56 ticket if they don’t comply with the ban, in addition to towing costs, which run $202 plus $15 for each additional day of storage, Lantry said.
St. Paul already had parking restrictions set for this winter, but they have been temporary and limited to specific streets or sections where first responders have difficulty navigating.
In Minneapolis early last week, city officials temporarily banned parking on the even side of non-snow emergency streets, an emergency measure to clear roads buried by the snowiest February in Twin Cities history.
Also last imposed in 2014, the winter parking restrictions in Minneapolis took effect Wednesday, ensuring that improperly parked vehicles could continue to be towed through the end of the season.
Vehicles cannot park on the even-numbered side of residential streets in Minneapolis until April 1.
The Minneapolis restrictions could end earlier than April 1 depending on whether buses and vehicles providing emergency services are better able to move through the streets.
Fire trucks need at least 11 ½ feet of road width, but some Minneapolis streets were down to 8 feet between parked cars.