While Minneapolis has banned winter parking before on one side of the street to make room for emergency vehicles — and did so again this week — St. Paul typically has refrained from taking such tough measures.
But the current brutal winter has the capital city crying uncle.
Mayor Chris Coleman and other city officials will announce Friday that St. Paul will begin this weekend restricting parking in residential areas to the odd-numbered side of the street.
Starting Saturday, the city will issue warning tickets to vehicles parked on the wrong side. Starting Monday, such vehicles will be ticketed and towed.
St. Paul officials say that this winter’s heavy snows have gradually narrowed the streets, making it difficult if not impossible for fire rigs, ambulances and other emergency vehicles to get through.
Parking will continue to be allowed on both sides of nonresidential streets unless signs say otherwise.
Minneapolis imposed its one-sided parking restrictions Sunday, the first time since the winter of 2010-11. As with St. Paul, vehicles in Minneapolis must stick to the odd-numbered side of non-snow emergency routes.
The parking restrictions will remain in place in both cities until further notice.
The problem isn’t just that the Twin Cities have received more than 50 inches of snow this winter, but that very little snow has melted owing to consistently frigid temperatures. Matters were complicated last week when a warm day was followed by rain and snow that caused slush and compacted snow to freeze before it could be plowed, leading to icy and rutted streets.
Coleman is scheduled to make the announcement at 11 a.m. Friday at the city fire station at 1000 W. 7th St.