Following the lead of Minneapolis, St. Paul will restrict parking to one side of most residential streets as the unrelenting winter rolls on. New parking rules will go into effect at 8 a.m. Friday, Mayor Melvin Carter said.

Parking will be allowed only on the north and west sides of residential streets and banned on the south and east sides.

"This is about public safety and in anticipation of another snowy weekend," the mayor said at a news conference Wednesday. "The goal of this is to make sure we can get a fire truck to your house or an ambulance to your business if we need to do that."

The one-sided parking restriction will remain in place until April 15, but the city could lift the ban if conditions improve before then, the mayor said.

Restricting parking to one side of the street will give fire trucks an additional 6 to 8 feet to maneuver and allow for faster response times, said St. Paul Fire Chief Butch Inks.

"Fire doubles in size every minute," Inks said. "Every minute we save saves lives."

The move in St. Paul comes after Minneapolis enacted similar restrictions in late January. Minneapolis limited parking to the odd-numbered side of most non-snow emergency routes to ensure emergency vehicles and school buses could navigate perilously narrow streets. The ban is in place until April 1.

As nearly 75 inches of snow has fallen in St. Paul this season — leading to seven snow emergencies — Public Works Director Sean Kershaw said the city has done what it could to keep streets as wide as possible and avoid enacting the stringent parking rules. But with so much snow, even plows are having trouble getting down the street.

"We understand this is a huge inconvenience," Kershaw said. "This is a big imposition to the public, but it's now time to widen them and make them as safe as possible."

Residents also were asked to keep their garbage cans out of the street.

Both Carter and Kershaw thanked the public for their patience and implored them to continue to work together with Public Works to "operate together as a community."

To direct residents and visitors to acceptable parking spots, the city created a new website ( with information to help avoid a potential ticket or tow.

St. Paul's parking ban will go into effect as the city, the metro area and much of central and southern Minnesota is under a winter storm watch. The area could pick up between 3 and 5 inches of snow through late Thursday night, the National Weather Service said.