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MPRB launches tool to track plowed park trails, sidewalks

With the new tool, users can track city plowing activity on Minneapolis park trails and sidewalks in real time.
Credit: MPRB

MINNEAPOLIS — Ready to go walking in a winter wonderland? Thanks to a new tool from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), preparing to brave the outdoors is about to get a lot easier.

The MPRB's Trail Plowing Status map couldn't have come at a better time, launching just hours after a snowstorm dumped up to 8 inches of snow on some parts of the Twin Cities metro earlier this week.

"People are so focused on trying to lower their amount of time in the car and it's so healthy to be outside biking, so if they can predict what the trails are like for them to get to work, that would be a huge plus on a day where there's snow," said Venke Davis, who is an avid cyclist in Minneapolis. "I have my fat tire bike for the winter, but there's a lot of people out there who have skinny tired bikes and they need to know if the trails are cleared."

With the new tool, users can track more than 70 pieces of equipment in real time, as they plow more than 150 miles of trails across the city. 

"Bike commuters need to know if those trails are cleared and when they've been cleared," said Chris DesRoches, Project and Systems Manager for the Minneapolis Park Board. "Maybe they're deciding on what bike to ride depending on how much snow is going to be there. This kind of gives them that information."

MPRB also allows users to submit requests, issues and complaints related to snow and ice removal. The app also allows users to track the status of those requests, and see existing issues. DesRoches says that data is also used to make the process more efficient as winter goes on.

"If we're getting a lot of requests or seeing a lot of issues, we'll update how we're plowing," DesRoches said. "Maybe that section will be plowed earlier, maybe it will be plowed later or we'll actually have staff come out and review that because we know that that's an issue."

The board says although the MPRB "makes every effort to have snow removed...within 24 hours," delays could be caused by blizzards and other severe weather events. Therefore, board officials ask those who would like to submit a request for snow removal to wait until 24 hours have passed since the snowfall has ended.

For more information about snow removal and maintenance from the city of Minneapolis, click here.

To view the Trail Plowing Status map, click here.

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