The Rules of the Game

It’s a snow emergency in Minneapolis (after what the northeastern United States would call a “snowmaggedon,” but we just call Monday).  Snow emergencies are a funny thing, as it doesn’t really mean there is a serious, life threatening emergency.  It means, to the best of my knowledge, that the city is attempting to do two things:
1.  Thwart nasty phone calls from disgruntled citizens complaining that the roads have some snow on them.
2. Collect as much money as possible by creating parking rules that require a Masters Degree in Reading and Understanding the Common Language of Civic Assholes

Minneapolis calls these “special” parking rules, and they really aren’t that awful, but they certainly aren’t designed to make it easy to remember where your car should be, and when it should or shouldn’t be there.  For those of you unfamiliar with Mpls Snow Emergency Rules, they are as follows:

Day 1:
The Snow Emergency must be declared before 6 pm.  Occasionally, this means a declaration at 2pm.  Often, it means 5:58.  On this day, you must move your car off a “snow emergency route” from 9pm to 8am.  What’s a snow emergency route?  Good question.  There are several ways to know if your car is on a snow emergency route: the street sign is blue, there are handy “This is a snow emergency route” signs tucked behind the bushes and trees along the street or completed painted over in graffiti, you  can look it up on the city’s poorly managed map, or you may notice that no one else has parked there.  When in doubt in Minneapolis, if there seems to be an overabundance of parking spaces in which your car would actually fit comfortably, it is probably too good to be true.  Easy enough.  You can re-park here when the road has been plowed curb-to-curb.

Day 2:
You can park on the snow emergency route after 8 am.  Or on the odd side of the road.  How will you know it’s the odd side?  While, it’s like your cousin Larry, it’s just always been a little, different.  Oh, not that kind of odd. . . It’s the side with the odd numbered houses, or houses with an address that ends in an odd number. It shocked me in some ways that wondering what side of the street was odd and even came up in the city’s FAQs about snow emergency parking.  Really, Twin Citizens? You don’t know what the odd side of the street is?  So, just in case some of my readers are wondering, odd numbers are: 1,3, 5, 7, and 9.*  Again, if you can’t tell the odd side of the road from the even, just park where everyone else is already parked.**

Day 3: A lather, rinse, repeat of Day 2, except the even side (2, 4, 6, and 8). Although, by this point, if you have been on the odd side the whole duration, because let’s say you take the bus a lot of places, the snowplow has essentially buried your car every way from Sunday and created some mega-ridge that you have to attempt to Baja your way out of right onto an icy road.  There is no way you will accomplish this without at least one neighbor muttering what an ass you are.

Okay, somewhere in there are rules about parkway parking, but they are basically null and void because:
1. Parkways have all numbers on them: even, odd, and imaginary.
2.  No one knows what the hell a parkway even is, although evidently it is not somewhere you can park.  Which seems ironic.

The point of this blog was not to give you a Mugwumped synopsis of the parking rules of the Minneapolis Snow Emergency.  But you got ’em.  It was like bonus material.

The point, is to dispel the myths about the reasons Minneapolis declares a Snow Emergency in the first place.  Let us be reminded of the reasons the city does this:

1.  Thwart nasty phone calls from disgruntled citizens complaining that the roads have some snow on them.  
2. Collect as much money as possible by creating parking rules that require a Masters Degree in Reading and Understanding the Common Language of Civic Assholes, leading to everyone getting their cars towed
These are terribly false and misguided.  Here’s how I know.  
About 95% of people follow the Snow Emergency rules in my area.  A handful of people seem to think they are entitled to park wherever they want, regardless of the emergency status of the snow.  And when you see these cars parked in what is sure to be the plows direct line of curb-to-curb snow evisceration, you just chuckle and think, “Poor sucker is gonna get his car towed.”  

And then the plows come.  And the car is still there.  No tow truck, no parking patroller, nothing.  And the plow just slides around the car.

This may seem like the nice thing to do– maybe the owner of said car is out of town, has the swine flu, is carrying for an elderly relative, has lost their ability to drive but holds on to the car for sentimental value.  Who knows.  And it is nice to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Except in parking wars.

Here’s the problem, City of Minneapolis: you aren’t towing anyone (and thus not makin’ any money off them), but more importantly to me: YOU’RE NEVER GETTING THE ROAD CLEAN CURB TO CURB BECAUSE YOU ALLOW THEM TO STAY PARKED!!

And, sure, eventually they move their car and create parking spaces, but it’s been plowed around so much that the space becomes all packed in with a frozen plateau of ice and snow that no one can park in.  And even if you can get in, forget trying to drive out through the Grand Canyon sized ruts the idiot left when he casually decided it was a nice day for a drive 6 days after the snow emergency.  And you know what Minneapolis?  You NEVER come back to clean those spaces up.  And they become ruined for the whole of winter.  

The website says “not following snow emergency parking rules will result in the vehicle being towed to a Minneapolis Impound Lot.”

No, it will not.  Not following snow emergency parking rules will result in nothing.  It’s arbitrary.  It appears to be an optional law in my neighborhood!  It totally sucks.  And now, I want to be the people the city is attempting to thwart in the first place, because it didn’t do it’s job.  It is a relationship we have here, that I “pay” taxes for.  I move my car, Minneapolis makes a clean space for it and make my road safe to drive on again.  I maintain my end of the bargain every time.  So far, Minneapolis does not.  Ever.  Seriously.

Just tow the goddamn cars.

*Nine is the only non-prime number in that bunch.
**This is meant to imply that there is no chance on God’s white barren wasteland of a winter earth you are going to find a parking space during Snow Emergency.  Move your car and you might as well stay wherever it is you were going.  


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