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Plow crews in St. Paul, Minneapolis target 'challenging' areas

Plows are out trying to improve poor side-street conditions left in the wake of our early January snow event.

ST PAUL, Minn. — A period of warmer winter temperatures is offering public works crews in both St. Paul and Minneapolis a window to do some catchup work on challenging plow areas in the wake of our early January snow event

Widespread street parking, narrower roads and old-school alley systems present unique problems for plow drivers as they remove snow from urban centers. It is commonplace for city roads to get more and more narrow as the winter stretches on, due to snow and ice buildup left when plows are forced to work around illegally parked vehicles. 

St. Paul public works crews were hoping to take advantage of the short-term thaw by conducting citywide plowing operations throughout the week, but Thursday's snow storm prompted officials to cancel plowing on Thursday and Friday.

“It is only mid-January and we are getting close to season average snowfall totals. There is a lot of winter still to come,” said Sean Kershaw, director of St. Paul Public Works. “We know on-street parking is a necessity for our residents, businesses, and visitors in St. Paul. We need everyone’s help to move their cars according to this special schedule. Everyone doing their part will allow our crews to plow to the curb and help us hold off on the need for a future one-sided parking ban.”

Residents are reminded that this special citywide residential plowing schedule is weather permitting and subject to change. For more information about St. Paul snow operations and plowing updates, visit www.stpaul.gov/snow.

Minneapolis is taking a less official approach to its special snow cleanup effort, telling residents only that plow crews will be plowing and removing snow from narrow streets in the city’s most dense residential neighborhoods. 

The major concern is that roads narrowed by excess snow and ice are more difficult for emergency vehicles to navigate. The city has posted one-sided parking on streets in the most challenging areas in terms of snow storage to ensure roads are passable for first responders. "Public works officials are working with the Minneapolis Fire Department to prioritize key areas that are challenging for emergency vehicles to access and will continue to post one-side parking in those areas," reads a press release on the Minneapolis city website

A spokesperson from the city of Minneapolis told KARE 11 that residents can also pick up free sand from a number of locations in an effort to help clear sidewalks.

  • 6036 Harriet Avenue South (on West 69th Street between Lyndale and Harriet)
  • 1809 Washington Street Northeast (at 18th and Jefferson)
  • East 27th Street (just east of Longfellow Avenue near the Public Works gate)
  • 2710 Pacific Street  (outside the main Public Works gate between 27th and 28th Aves. North)

Minneapolis officials say any of the sites that run out of sand will be replenished by crews the next morning.

Minneapolis is also urging residents to work with, and help neighbors to move vehicles that are stuck or haven't been moved since the big snow event on Jan. 4. They are also urged to call 311 with concerns about conditions on various streets and sidewalks. 

For more information on snow emergencies and winter parking regulations in Minneapolis, visit the city's website. 

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