What to Know About Snow Emergency Parking in the Twin Cities

Let’s face it: It’s that time of year again. Ice covers sidewalks all over the metro, driving along inner-city streets can be a claustrophobic experience, and winter storms can turn a ten-minute drive into a thirty five-minute crawl. 

Already this season, Minneapolis and St. Paul have accumulated more than 52 inches of snow and numerous city-wide snow emergencies. Jan. 26 marked the beginning of a one-side-of-the-street parking rule for Minneapolis residents expected to last until April, and during a winter storm, the state expects Twin Citians to know and abide by the winter rules of the road in both cities. But, with varying guidelines and expectations, knowing exactly what to do and when can be tricky.  

We’re here to help. In this all-in-on Twin Cities winter parking guide, we’ve got every rule, expectation, and need-to-know road sign organized and explained. 


For the remainder of the winter, the entire city of Minneapolis is under a one-side-of-the-street parking rule to ensure that emergency vehicles and buses are able to maneuver through overly-crowded city streets. All parking is restricted to the odd-numbered side (ie. 1233 MSPMag St., or 1457 Minneapolis Ave.) of non-snow emergency routes until April 1. Parking is allowed on both sides of snow emergency routes and parkways, unless otherwise posted. Drivers will be ticketed and towed if the new rule is not followed.

Ahead of the massive snowstorm expected to hit the Twin Cities this week, Minneapolis has opened up additional free covered parking spots available to street parkers through Feb. 28. On a first-come-first-serve basis, three parking lots are currently open: 

  • The Vineland Ramp at 727 Vineland Place. (671 spots). 
  • The Basilica lot under I-94 at 13 N. 17th St. (183 spots). 
  •  The farmer’s market lot under Interstate 94 at 225 E. Lyndale Ave. (309 spots).

On Tuesday at 2 p.m., two additional lots will open up for Minneapolis parkers. 

  • The Salvation Army lot at 601 N. Fourth St. (332 spaces). 
  • The Lyn-Lake lot at 2940 S. Garfield Ave. (118 spaces). 

Minneapolis offers multiple ways to know if a snow emergency has been declared:

  • Call 311, the city-wide emergency number. 
  • Check Minneapolis’s city website. 
  • Sign up for email, text, or phone call snow emergency alerts on Minneapolis’s website. 
  • Check Minneapolis’s social media pages. 
  • Download the free Minneapolis snow emergency app. 
  • Call the snow emergency hotline at (612) 348-SNOW/7669
  • Watch Minneapolis City Council TV on Comcast or CenturyLink. 

Minneapolis’s snow emergencies run on three-day intervals with different rules affecting each day. 

Day one: On the first day that a snow emergency is declared, the parking rules begin at 9 p.m. with day two rules beginning at 8 a.m. the following morning. 

  • You CAN park on either side of a street or parkway not labeled a snow emergency route.  
  • You CANNOT park on either side of a street labeled a snow emergency routes. 

Day two: On the second day of a snow emergency, parking rules begin at 8 a.m. and stay in effect until 8 p.m. 

  • You CAN park on the odd side of the street that are non-snow emergency routes. (ie. 1235 Writers St., 3457 MSPMag Ave.) 
  • You CAN park both sides of streets labeled snow emergency routes. 
  • You CANNOT park on the even side of non-snow emergency routes (ie. 1234 Writers St., or 3456 MSPMag Ave.) 
  • You CANNOT park on either side of parkways. You can find an online, interactive map of streets considered to be parkways on Minneapolis’s city website. 
  • Between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., be sure to move your car from the odd side of the street to the even side of the street by the beginning of day three.

Day three: On the third and last day of a snow emergency, rules begin at 8 a.m. and stay in effect until 8 p.m.

  • You CAN park on the even side of streets that are not labeled as snow emergency routes (ie. 1234 Writers St., or 3456 MSPMag Ave.) 
  • You CAN park on both sides of snow emergency routes, and on both sides of parkways. 
  • You CANNOT park on the odd sides of streets (ie. 1235 Writers St., or 3457 MSPMag Ave.) that are non-snow emergency routes. 

Snow emergency routes are roads that are considered main arteries in the Minneapolis driving system. They are labeled with either a red and white sign reading “Snow Emergency Route” on the side of the street, or if the road name sign is blue. Non-snow emergency route signs will be either brown or green.

Minneapolis’s website offers an online, interactive snow emergency parking map. 

St. Paul

St. Paul offers multiple ways to know if a snow emergency has been declared. 

  • Sign up for email or text snow emergency alerts on St. Paul’s website.
  • Check St. Paul’s social media pages. 
  • Call (651) 266-PLOW/7569 for recorded snow emergency statuses

St. Paul’s snow emergencies are separated into three different plow phases. 

Night plow routes: During the first night that a snow emergency is declared, the winter parking rules go into effect at 9 p.m. and last until 7 a.m. on day two of the snow emergency. 

  • You CANNOT park on streets labeled Night Plow Routes or Night Plow Routes This Street. 
  • All of downtown St. Paul is included in this plow route even though it is not signed. 
  • You CAN park on streets labeled Day Plow Routes. This includes streets or sides of streets that may not have a Day Plow Routes sign, but that also do not have a Night Plow Routes sign. 

Day plow routes: The second day and phase of St. Paul snow emergency plowing runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • You CANNOT park on day plow routes. These include streets or sides of streets with no sign labeling them as a night plow route. Day plow routes do not always have signs labeling them. Typically these routes include both sides of east-west residential streets and one side of north-south residential streets. 

Clean-up phase: The third and final phase of a St. Paul snow emergency does not have a specific time limit. Up to 96 hours after a snow emergency has been declared, plowing crews will continue clean up efforts that may include salting and “push backs,” or plowing where parked cars have since moved. To avoid a ticket and tow, do not park in areas that have not been plowed to the curb. 

St. Paul’s website offers an online, interactive snow emergency parking map.  

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