Minneapolis leaders streamline new parking policies

Minneapolis leaders are trying to streamline some rules to make it easier for everyone to park in the city.

The parking rules in Minneapolis date back to a time when downtown was the most congested part of the city. Now, sometimes what people see on the signs doesn’t actually match city law.

“We have a very dynamic and growing city, and yes, everything did happen in downtown Minneapolis, but that's not the case. You can go to Uptown - of course, very dynamic - and you can go, of course, to northeast Minneapolis, a completely different scene than it was, say in the ‘50s,” said City Council member Kevin Reich.

This prompted Reich, who represents Ward 1, to introduce new legislation aimed at updating and streamlining some parking. It is also aimed at getting rid of the antiquated downtown congestion zone and striking out lines upon lines of confusing rules about parking hours; because of the conflicting language it made the existing rules hard to enforce.

“This isn't a public works issue as it was a regulatory services issue,” Reich said. “They just couldn't effectively enforce something that was backed by language that was inconsistent, ambiguous and conflicting.”

“So what we did was basically say in an ordinance, the sign was the boss. What the sign says is fundamentally what you have to follow through on,” he said.

The streamlining follows improvements like electronic meters, creating less ambiguity for drivers.

“I would always follow the prompts on the parking meter; I rarely look at the signs,” said driver Diane Adair.

“I really love the system they've got now, with these numbers. It really helps,” said driver Vincent Donohue.

The council's Transportation and Public Works Committee signed off on the new legislation and it will go before the full council next week.