MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have reportedly seen a decline in the number of vehicles towed compared to past snow emergencies, but there are still plenty of upset people.

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Both cities declared snow emergencies Christmas Day night. Minneapolis towed 503 cars while St. Paul hauled away 484.

Coming to the impound lot is not what many had in mind for the day after Christmas, especially the fine: $138 for the tow plus $42 for the ticket.

One by one, vehicles violating the city’s snow emergency were towed and brought to the impound lot. The line was so long, the overflow was sent into a modular building next door.

Although the line is out the door, both Minneapolis and St. Paul say there has been a decline in the number of tows during this snow emergency. It’s believed better awareness of the rules has led to more compliance than in years past.

However, those caught in the tow man’s clutches question the timing of the snow emergency.

“The reason we had a snow emergency on Christmas Day is because it snowed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day,” said Minneapolis Public Works Director Mike Kennedy.

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Both cities wanted to make sure streets were clear, so we don’t have a mess, like we did two weeks ago.

“We had the warm snows and the slushy snow and the 30 degree drop in temperature that locked everything down and what a problem that was. That’s going to happen again. So, we want to be out ahead of that and take advantage of it and get it done before those temperatures drop,” Kennedy said.

For some stuck paying to get their car back, there are questions as to the timing of the tow.

“I think the really funny thing is it says very prominently all over the website that if the street is already plowed, you can park there and the street was already plowed and I parked there and they still sent tow trucks to pick everyone up,” Patrick Polnski said.

“The rules are you can put your car back after its fully plowed,” Kennedy said.

While some cried foul, others faced writing that check to the city with a smile and took steps to make sure they never have to visit the impound lot again.

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“I finally downloaded the app on the Minneapolis city website that gets snow emergencies so now I can get every snow emergency alert,” Peltier said.

Reg Chapman