As often happens in Minnesota, come March, we still have snow piled up and ice covering the streets. I know many of you are frustrated with the long winter and the tough driving conditions around the City. I wanted to let you know what the City of Minneapolis Public Works is doing to address the snow removal, ice and safety of our streets.
When it snows, as it did last night, removing the snow and plowing is the first priority. As we have snow in the forecast each day this week, Public Works will first prioritize clearing the snow.
We also know the ice, which is bonded to the streets, is a major problem. These areas are everywhere, but are particularly problematic downtown and anywhere else the pavements are most in shade. The chemical deicers the City uses are not effective at temperatures below 15 degrees. So while we continue trying to treat the streets, the best our crews can do is chip away at the ice until we see significant, long-term rises in temperature. During that time, crews are focusing their efforts in the higher traffic volumes and/or speeds.
We also have crews occasionally going into the residential streets to try to clean up the even sides where we had problems during the last snow emergencies. The thick snowpack and bonded ice will remain there for a while. If we get any warming, the hard-pack can sometimes “fluff up,” making it look like it snowed again, or crews were never there to plow. Crews are also dealing with alley plowing concerns as they arise.
Public Works, Police and Fire, as well as Metro Transit are still working to evaluate, prioritize and determine what to do with snow emergency routes that appear narrowed. Plowing crews are already addressing some from Metro Transit, day and night, when they’re able. As for non-emergency streets, Public Works and Regulatory Services, and Traffic Control are working together to enforce the Winter Parking Restrictions where appropriate. These restrictions – while frustrating for many – are necessary to ensure emergency response vehicles have enough space to make it down the streets. Remember that until April 1, do not park on the even numbered side of non-Snow Emergency routes. You can find out more about the restriction and download multi-language flyers here.
This week crews are working on an aggressive corner clearing operation. About two weeks ago, all of the corners were clear, but after getting another 15 inches of snow over the past week, the corners were all filled in again.
Crews from Public Works are also tasked to enforce the sidewalk shoveling ordinances. Please be sure you’re doing your part by shoveling the walkway to your home or business. You can also help out the City by digging out the fire hydrant on your block. There are more than 8,000 fire hydrants in the City of Minneapolis, and the Fire Department is asking the public to help out when you’re able.
I know many of you are dealing with slick streets and possibly difficulties parking or navigating your alley. The great people who work at Public Works are responsible for all of the work I’ve just mentioned. They have daily and short-term work plans, and they work to balance all the needs and priorities across the City – those priorities can change daily, or even hourly. And as I mentioned, if it snows, everything stops until crews deal with that immediate priority.
Please don’t hesitate to share your concerns with me or through 311. I thank all of you for your patience as Public Works employees strive daily to keep our streets safe and keep our City running well.