Snow Emergencies in the Twin Cities: Know the Rules

The increase in snow emergencies didn’t go unnoticed this winter for both Minneapolis and St. Paul. In fact, the frustrations of snow emergencies and the tows and fines that often follow these experiences for residents was poignant during 2019. Since snow emergencies can result in thousands of tows across the Twin Cities for each emergency that occurs, it’s a good idea to know the rules about snow emergencies, and keep in mind that those rules can change from city to city.

You’re not alone if you feel that the rules governing snow emergencies aren’t very clear. Often times, when people’s cars are towed during snow emergencies, those people admit they weren’t made aware there ever was a snow emergency. Luckily, you can avoid your lack of awareness a second time around if you utilize a text or call subscription service that will tell you via your phone whenever a snow emergency is declared. Another way to double check is to visit your city’s Twitter or Facebook pages.

Snow Emergencies in Minneapolis

Snow emergencies in Minneapolis are declared over a span of three days, and parking enforcement starts on 9 P.M. of the announced day. There are different rules spanning the three days, which include the following:

  • Day 1: On the first day, you can’t park on streets marked with the red “Snow Emergency Route” signs. You are allowed to park your car on plowed streets.
  • Day 2: Starting at 8 A.M., you won’t be allowed to park on the even side of non-snow emergency routes. To clarify, the even side means the side of the street with even house numbers. You are allowed to park on the odd number sides of the streets or on the snow-emergency routes with signs, because those are opened up again on the second day of a snow emergency.
  • Day 3: The rules are similar to Day 2’s rules, but now you won’t be allowed to park on the odd side of non-snow emergency routes. You’ll be allowed to park on the snow-emergency routes with the red signs on the third day as well.

If you need more information, visit the City of Minneapolis’s information page here.

Snow Emergencies in St. Paul

St. Paul’s snow emergencies follow a different set of rules. Once a snow emergency is declared in St. Paul, it will go on for 96 hours. So, expect tickets and towing for infractions to take place during that 96-hour span. St. Paul has two general sets of rules you need to remember during a snow emergency:

  • Night Plow Rules. Starting at 9 p.m., these parking rules go into affect the same day a snow emergency is declared. From 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., you are not allowed to park on the streets that have red “night plow route” signs. Once the plows are done doing their jobs, then you can park on those streets.
  • Day Plow Rules. From 8 a.m to 5 p.m., day plow rules apply during a snow emergency, and you won’t see signs for this rule. Basically, if you don’t see a night plow sign, then you’re on a day plow street. You are allowed to park on day plow streets if it’s obvious that the street has already been plowed.

If you want to learn more about St. Paul’s snow emergency rules, visit their website here.

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