Get your car out of the way of the plows when the snow falls thick and heavy or you’ll get tagged with a ticket and stuck with a tow to the impound lot. The city of St. Paul would like people to know the three kinds of snow emergency streets: Night Plow Route (two-sides of the street), Night Plow Route (one side of the street) and Day Plow Route (not indicated by signs).
Once a snow emergency is declared by the city of St. Paul, there is no parking after 9 p.m. along streets designated as Night Plow Routes (you will know them by the red and white signs). The big question is where can a person park during a snow emergency?
- No parking at all on Night Plow Routes until they are plowed to the curb (up to four days to finish). For example, Como, Cleveland and University Avenues are night plow routes.
- Some streets are marked “Night Plow Route This Side of Street.” These are some north south residential streets. You may park on the side of the street that is not marked. Raymond Avenue is a Night Plow Route most of its length but on my stretch of it, between Como and Dudley, it’s Night Plow on the east side only.
- East West streets that are not marked are good for parking on both sides. Much of Doswell falls into this category except between Hythe and Cleveland. It’s important to check the signs along the street.
Once the Night Plow Routes are done, the streets that have not been plowed must be cleared for plowing. That means moving your car from spots on the east west streets and the unplowed sides of North South streets. Plowing begins as early as 8 a.m. the day after a night plow.
How to stay informed when a snow emergency is declared? A snowfall, or accumulation, of three inches or more is the city guideline for declaring a snow emergency. Local media will be notified by 3 p.m. on a snow emergency day. There are multiple ways to get the news:
- Check with TV and radio stations, including St. Paul’s cable channel 18
- Check the city’s web site
- Sign Up for an e-mail “SnowAlert”
- Follow St. Paul Public Works on Twitter
- Connect with the city of St. Paul on Facebook
- Call 651-266-7569 for plow information
- St. Anthony Park Community Council (District 12) recommends the video, Understanding Snow Emergency, produced by ECHO Minnesota. It is now available in eight languages: English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese, Lao, Khmer and Karen. It features St. Paul maintenence supervisor Tom Sagert giving the basics on snow emergency parking.
Got a snowbird? They are common along our stretch of Raymond Avenue for some reason. A car that is left on the street during a plow—and does not get towed—gets shoveled in as the plow goes by; once the car is moved, a mound of hard packed snow is left behind. Residents should contact the city to come and “push back” the snowbirds.
The best way to deal with a snow emergency is to “Stay informed,” says Sagert. Have a back-up parking plan during the winter. If you travel, make plans to have a friend keep the keys and move the car for you during a possible snow emergency.
What if the car won’t start? Get a tow. Park Service at 2277 Como Avenue (651-644-4775) has been helping neighbors out for years.
If you do get towed, there are two impound lots in the city. If the tow occurs north of I-94, as we are here in St. Anthony Park, the impound lot is on Como Avenue across from the fairgrounds (1129 Cathlin, click here for a map). (South of I-94 the impound lot is on Barge Channel Road near Concord street on the west side.)
Be prepared to bring cash when reclaiming a towed car. According to the city, “the cost is $219.50 (cash) to get your vehicle out of the impound lot if you pick it up before midnight the day it is towed.” The cost of storing it is $15 a day. Be sure to also bring a drivers license and proof of ownership and insurance.
As the driving and parking conditions get winter-tough in this town, a lot of people realize the value of cooperation. Be neighborly and share snow emergency information with others. Minneapolis, Roseville and other neighboring cities have different snow emergency rules; non- or new residents may not know where to park during a St. Paul snow emergency. Sharing information not only helps people avoid the ‘tag and tow’ but it keeps the streets passable for police, emergency vehicles and everyone.
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