Mar 11, 2024 - News

St. Paul considers one-sided street parking pilot to help with snow emergencies

An orange snow plow truck with its plow lowered and its truck bed slightly raised on a snow-covered city street

A snowplow clears a street in St. Paul in 2023. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

St. Paul plans to experiment with a street plowing model that could potentially do away with the need to call citywide snow emergencies.

Why it matters: Snow emergency parking restrictions are a huge, acute hassle resulting in costly overtime for cities and hundreds of tows and tickets per winter — but they've been the Twin Cities' preferred tactic to clear snowy streets.

Yes, but: Under a model St. Paul may pilot next winter, parking would only be allowed on one side of the street — and that side would alternate each week, even when it's not snowing.

Driving the news: Mayor Melvin Carter said this new alternating-sides parking model is one of many ideas he plans to discuss in Monday's State of the City address.

  • Many details have yet to be worked out, but Carter said the city will likely run a "limited" experiment next winter.

What they're saying: He notes the current snow emergency model "waits for the snow to finish falling, and then for everyone to move their cars" before the regular cycle of night and day plowing routes can begin.

  • One-sided, alternating street parking could be more "predictable" and cost-effective, Carter says. It could also allow for some snow clearing to begin earlier to at least one street curb — and perhaps even result in fewer tickets and tows.
  • If it works, and the model's taken citywide, Carter said it would "render snow emergencies obsolete."
  • "For the last 20-plus years, our residential streets have been the last priority where snow management is concerned," Carter told reporters ahead of his speech.

The other side: In certain neighborhoods, parking is already hard to find on both sides of streets. Changing those rules could be disruptive.

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