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MINNEAPOLIS - If at first you don't succeed, try another message medium.

The city of Minneapolis unveiled a new tool Tuesday in the never-endingbattle to get residents to move their vehicles when a snow emergency is declared.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council Member Kevin Reich met with reporters at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and 9th Street South, underneath what they call an electronic variable message sign. The signs, already posted ata dozen busy downtown intersections, will make it painfully clear when a snow emergency has beendeclared, and emergency parking rules are in effect.

"We want to starve the impound lot," Rybak insisted, "wehate towing your car. We don't make money off it, it makes you mad at us, we want to do anything humanly possible to stop you from getting your car towed."

This year there is also a new Minneapolis snow emergency App for people who have either iPhones or Android smart phones. It provides all the parking rules and a direct link to the 348-snow line.

In recent years, Minneapolis has utilized its Facebook page, a Twitter account, 348-snow hotline, phone and email alerts and its city cable television channels to let residents know when to pull their cars off snow emergency routes so plows can get through. Still, thousands of motorists have their cars taken to the impound lot each year, requiring them to pay nearly $200 in tow and ticket fees to get their wheels back.

City officials insist Minneapolis has the equipment and manpower to keep the streets clean of snow, but that's only part of the equation: they are asking residents to do their part so plow drivers can do a good job clearing streets curb to curb.

Here's a reminder of the rules in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In Minneapolis:

Minneapolis website - ci.minneapolis.mn.us

  • sign up for email and text alerts
  • sign up for automated voice messages
  • has information posted when there's a snow emergency issued

Minneapolis Twitter - @CityMinneapolis

Minneapolis Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/cityofminneapolis

Minneapolis Snow Emergency Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/MinneapolisSnowEmergency

24-hour Hotline -- 612-348-SNOW

TTY: 612-673-2157

In St. Paul:

St. Paul website - stpaul.gov

  • sign up for email and text alerts
  • has information posted when there's a snow emergency issued

St. Paul Twitter -- @cityofsaintpaul

St. Paul Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/cityofsaintpaul

24-hour Hotline -- 651-266-PLOW

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