Northeast Minneapolis: Parking at a premium on 4th and 13th-15th

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It’s hard to ignore the recent years of business growth in the neighborhood around 13th and University avenues NE. For most of Northeast, it means more entertainment opportunities, more jobs, more visitors (who also patronize businesses in other nearby areas) and more money staying in the community for a longer time.

But some nearby residents, in homes that are largely un-buffered from the increased activity, pay a higher price than others for the success—they get a greater share of the noise, traffic and disruption than those who live farther away from the businesses. And they’re working with the City of Minneapolis to ease the burden.

One recent plan, a move to permit-only parking from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the east side of Fourth Street, between 13th and 15th avenues, is making its way through city channels.

If it goes through as planned, residents will have to buy a $25 permit each year if they want to park in those blocks at those times.

Jim Mitchell, a Fourth Street resident who’s working on the plan, said that Minneapolis Traffic Engineer Tim Drew is drafting a petition for area residents to sign. They will need signatures from 75 percent of the households on the blocks for the Minneapolis City Council to approve the new rules.

“I would hope to have that [petition] next week sometime,” he said, so he can begin compiling signatures. He said that he knows of one business owner and one residential property owner who oppose the new rules, but “we have pretty good consensus.

“It certainly won’t be a surprise to anyone,” he said.

Third Ward Minneapolis City Council Member Diane Hofstede agreed. “We’ve had a number of meetings with the community,” she said. “We have a growing entertainment district that’s affecting the residents, and we’re coming up with some solutions.”

“The idea is not to necessarily penalize anyone, but to have places for the residents to park,” she said. “We certainly want people to be involved in the solution.”

Mitchell agreed that residents are not trying to penalize the businesses or their customers. “The residents like the businesses, and certainly enjoy the vibrancy” they bring to the community, he said. Residents and business people need to work together because they realize they are “integral to each other’s success.”

Drew said the city’s information backs up the need for some parking restrictions. “We’ve done a parking study out there,” he said. “They qualify for [a permit that restricts parking during] specific hours.”

Reached in the first week of October, Drew said it would be “at least two and a half to three months before it would be out on the street.”

He said that residents are sometimes supportive of the restrictions at first but don’t like it so much in later years. “It’s something people have to live with later,” in addition to the immediate benefits, Drew said. “Down the road…sometimes people are angry about it.”

Residents who want permits to park in the restricted area pay $25 per year for the permit plus a one-time $10 fee. The city also offers visitor permits that are good for one year, service vehicle permits, and temporary permits.

According to city information, after parking restriction signs are posted, the city allows time for residents to get permits, plus a “short buffer period for people to get acquainted with new parking regulations,” before enforcement begins.