MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Whether pushing it with plows or scooping paths with shovels, there’s no getting around it – our snow is piling up.

With every scoopful of white, it is raising banks higher and causing residential streets to grow increasingly narrow.

“Eventually, the streets get so narrow that they’ll have a hard time getting fire trucks and stuff through if they need to,” said Bruce Bauermeister, a Minneapolis resident.

That’s why Minneapolis city officials are on the verge of implementing strict winter parking rules. The city would require all vehicles to park on only odd-numbered sides of non-snow emergency streets.

“Not only do we have to be able to navigate streets to get to the emergency, once we get there we need room to set up,” said Bryan Tyner, Assistant Minneapolis Fire Chief.

Chief Tyner says it is absolutely critical for fire trucks and ambulances to get to where they’re needed as quickly as possible.

“As narrow as some of these streets are getting they can be hard to pass, especially some of the more narrow streets,” Tyner said.

Most fire rigs need a clear opening between vehicles of between 15 and 18 feet to pass through safely. WCCO discovered many gaps that were as narrow as 11 feet.

Implementing one-sided parking is never easy or popular, but it’s essential when lives are on the line.

“It’s an inconvenience and always has been when it’s been done in the past. But I think with the way the snow’s been coming down if it keeps continuing, they’re going to have to do it,” Bauermeister said.

The last time cities were forced to take this action was the winter of 2013-14. Any winter parking restrictions would stay in place until April first.

Bill Hudson

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