Snow emergencies?

I just don’t get it. When Duluth gets more than a couple inches of snow, we plow one side of the street, and the following Sunday we plow the other. For example, if 13 inches of snow falls on Monday, the parking side remains unplowed until Sunday. You can’t park on the side that was plowed, and the side you must try to park on won’t be plowed for days!

WTF? Is there any logic behind this? Coming from Minneapolis, it’s absolutely bizarre. The “second” plowing happens no matter what — why wait until the following Sunday to do the rest?!

Give or take some of the rules, here’s the reasonable plan.


Don Ness

about 10 years ago

There are pros and cons to both systems.   The advantage to the Duluth system is that the rules stay the same and we don't tow hundreds of cars.   For me, that's the biggest consideration - to have a car towed is a massive cost and inconvenience.   With snow emergencies it requires several movements.

They've obviously done this for many years in the Cities and they still tow hundreds of cars per snow event.   Trying to implement a system like this during the chaos of a snowstorm would cause massive problems, in my opinion.

I'm not willing to create that sort hardship on students, seniors, low income residents, or folks who simply didn't get the news.

The system that we have is far from perfect depending on when the changeover happens after the storm and it is awkward when the changeover happens, but the other system isn't perfect either.


about 10 years ago

A proactive solution? Turn church lots and school lots into emergency parking spots. Plow them right away. Allow 24 hours of parking? The biggest problem on the hill was that once you got your car out, there was no where to put it.


about 10 years ago

Minneapolis/Saint Paul has by far the worst snow plowing in the state. So you don't like moving your car once a week and prefer to get an automated call telling you to park randomly depending on where you live? And please do not tell me they plow both sides of the street -- no, in fact, they can go months before they even try to clean up the streets.

Have you ever noticed that when they "plow" in Mpls/St. Paul they seem to leave a large amount of snow in the intersections -- and they don't come back to clean it up? If you think the streets are bad up here after the most recent snow, how about a few years back on Christmas Eve when they decided to not declare a snow emergency and left the six inches that fell to freeze. We didn't see blacktop again in South Minneapolis until May. Duluth's snowplowing is far superior to that of Minneapolis or St. Paul.


about 10 years ago

With the current system, the best thing to do is to band together with your neighbors. 

When we moved in 7 years ago, the guy next door took me aside and told me, hey, here's the plan for when it snows. Essentially the plan is to move your car ASAP and not park it on the street during the time of day when they usually plow. His suggestion (if it's plowed) was to park at the local church and just make a small donation to help them out.  Frankly it works great!

The whole snow emergency thing has me befuddled. BUT, my street is pretty wide and we don't have students/tons of cars.

Derek Montgomery

about 10 years ago

I think the current system is the way to go and not the "reasonable" plan suggested by jnwari.  Why?

Our street in Lakeside was not plowed for three days because of one car that was on the street during the storm and could not be moved. With jnwari's plan, that would happen many times over on way more streets.  

In a perfect world, all the cars would move over and those that don't would get towed right away. In this past storm, it was hard for four-wheel drive vehicles to move around. So in this plan we would likely have many vehicles that just couldn't move and people moving their vehicles to the other side of the street to comply with the law thus creating unplowable streets. With the current plan, at least people are staying on one side.


about 10 years ago

Yeah, not a fan of Minneapolis' idea of snow plowing either. But then again, it might be a necessary evil for such a populated area. 

Anyone else see the irony in Derek's mention of living in Lakeside and his Gravatar?

I can attest to the issues in Lakeside, but that is mainly because the streets were made too narrow for the new plows we have. They have been working to remedy that, but it is a slow and costly process.

Derek Montgomery

about 10 years ago

Ha!  Dorkus you are correct.  There is much irony with me living in Lakeside and the use of a parodied Westside Connection album cover profile picture.  Then again Ice Cube preached of a worldwide west side so maybe Lakeside is part of that worldwide west side now.

Nick L

about 10 years ago

As part of a worldwide west side, Lakeside alcohol sales would be legal.


about 10 years ago


I was up in Hibbing last winter, they plow the snow into the center of the road and then remove it later with a big snowblower into a dump truck. The sidewalks are fairly clear and cars can park on the side of the roads.

This would not work everyplace, but it makes more sense than what Duluth does in the downtown area. In Duluth we plow the snow into the meters and then put up no parking signs and have crews work in the middle of the night to move the snow later.


about 10 years ago

What I don't understand is why there is no alternate side parking on one way streets? We moved to a one way this summer, and now the two driving lanes have been reduced to one because the plows can never plow along the parking side because there's always cars parked there, so cars keep parking farther and farther from the curb so they aren't in/on piles of ice/snow. Our landlord told us there may be times when we have to move for a day for a plow to come through, but it hasn't happened yet, and I'm just wondering why we don't just switch sides of the streets to park on like 2 way streets? Any one out there know?


about 10 years ago

I'm not in favor of adopting every aspect of Minneapolis' snow emergency plan. I realize a tow charge can be devastating for a family struggling financially. But I think there has to be some compromise between doing nothing and being tow crazy. In the last hour I moved my vehicle to the even side of the street. This was the side we were parked on for the large three day snowfall. I am currently parked in a massive snowdrift because one person waited to move there car until 9am on last Monday. Credit to the plow drivers for making it to our relatively quiet street by 7:30 AM that day to clear the lane, cars were parked in the week before. But all it takes is one dink to screw the whole works and prevent us from having a clear street. While I wouldn't support towing the minute the snow starts to fly. I would support people getting towed on Sunday night/Monday morning after a significant snowfall, if they're to damn lazy to move their car.


about 10 years ago

Don, can you explain why you're willing to create the hardship of not plowing the giant ten inch piles of slush all over Lakeside that turned into steep unnavigable canyons last night? 

Let's sell that Tiffany, make another deal with Johnson, raffle off some tickets to let snowmobeelers beat on some skiers, or whatever else it is we have to do to save costs and get on with plowing the damned streets already. Glad winter is finally here/tired of getting Stuck in my Truck.  The elderly and sick have to get around too. It's hard enough on young healthy males who drive trucks let alone everyone else.  You need me to come and drive plow for free beer, or maybe the chance to record with Gaelynn Lea?  I don't need 80k in overtime, and I pay Duluth taxes.

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