City towed 750 cars in the first two days of the snow emergency

Snowy scenes from Sunday morning.
Snowy scenes from Sunday morning.

Between Sunday at 9 p.m., when day one of snow emergency parking went into effect overnight, and Monday at 8 p.m. when day two ended, the city towed 750 cars.

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The first day of the snow emergency, overnight Sunday into Monday, accounted for half that number, with 393 cars towed and 1,201 ticketed.

That's the standard ratio, says Mike Kennedy, the director of transportation, maintenance and repair for the Minneapolis Department of Public Works. During an average storm, he says, "About 25 to 30 percent of tickets that we write get towed."

During the day Monday, an additional 357 cars were moved off the streets and into the impound lot.

Though all those car owners were seemingly less-than-prepared for the weekend's weather, Kennedy and his team were ready. They had spent the last two weeks of November converting the city's fleet from fall street sweeping into winter plows.

Kennedy had a crew out "as soon as flakes started falling," overnight Friday into Saturday morning. When the storm picked up Saturday night, 33 plows hit the streets.

By the time the shift changed at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Kennedy "beefed up" the normal 15 plows to 43 for the day. At 9 p.m., when the city's snow emergency kicked in, 48 plows were on the roads for the night. The city contracted an additional 18 trucks to plow 4,000 alleys.

Kennedy says that, in a most-extreme scenario, he could probably rustle up around 75 plows.

Minneapolis plows about 950 miles of streets (the county maintains another about 100 miles). By 8 p.m. Monday, after a 12-hour shift, all of that mileage was passable "at least down the center line," says Kennedy.

Today is day three of the snow emergency, and the city will finish plowing the odd sides of non-emergency routes between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. So there's still time for a few unlucky (and oblivious) car owners to get added to the impound toll for the season's first snow. Check back Tuesday night for the final count.

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