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Narrow Streets In Metro Area Prompting Parking Restrictions

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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ST. LOUIS PARK (WCCO) — Our ever-growing piles of snow are forcing some communities to ask for help with parking.

City streets seem to be getting narrower by the week, with solid mounds of snow pushing parked cars farther into the roadway. That can be a real hazard, especially in cases where emergency vehicles need to get through.

The city of Minneapolis is about to put up “no parking” signs in areas that have become especially congested, while St. Louis Park is asking drivers citywide to park only on the odd sides of streets.

Of all the snow that’s been cleared to the side during St. Louis Park’s four snow emergencies in two months, very little has melted.

It’s a frustrating situation for drivers.

“It builds up quick,” Matt Butcher of Minneapolis said, “and in some areas it’s just a nightmare to get through.”

Many two-lane streets are barely wide enough now for one lane.

St. Louis Park Fire Chief Steve Koering said some crews have had to back up and go around, in situations when seconds count.

“Getting access to streets during emergencies is almost becoming impossible in some parts of our city,” he said.

That’s why the city is asking drivers to stick to the odd-numbered side for parking.

City crews will place warning flyers that look like tickets, in the windshields of cars parked on the even side. They’re also posting messages online, and getting ready to send text messages, phone messages and even postcards.

“We’re asking people to do that on a voluntary basis with the hope that we don’t have to go to a mandatory parking on one side,” Koering said.

The city had to do this two years ago too, and they said they had 90 percent cooperation, which they’re hoping for again.

But if there’s a street with a continuing problem, they’ll consider banning parking on that street, which would lead to tickets and towing.

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