New, improved mobile app lets you know when a Snow Emergency is in effect

Thanks to an improved smartphone app, more and more people are accessing Snow Emergency information from their mobile phones.

The improved smartphone app, developed by a City employee, debuted in November and provides users with that day’s Snow Emergency parking restrictions. Since the app’s improved features rolled out, more than 2,500 new users have downloaded the app, bringing the total number of app downloads to more than 10,000.

According to Melissa Hardy, Information Technology staff member and developer of the app, more people are now accessing snow emergency information in the evening via their mobile phone than desktop computers.

The Minneapolis Snow Emergency app is an update of one introduced last season. The revision, available for iPhone and Android devices, contains much more detailed, timely and useful information. The app tells users if a Snow Emergency has been declared and puts detailed parking rules right in the palm of the user’s hand. The app tells users where they can and can’t park on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 of a Minneapolis Snow Emergency, helping folks avoid a ticket and a tow.

The updated app does not send push notifications, but users can sign up for email or text alerts via the app. It also features a quick call button that connects to the Minneapolis Snow Emergency hotline.

Interested in learning about mobile application development, Hardy used her spare time to develop the snow emergency app. That process involved learning the code and software involved in app development, and then learning how mobile apps are tested and made available to the public. “I’m a Minneapolis resident and I knew that a snow emergency app would be helpful to other residents,” said Hardy.

Snow Emergencies are declared whenever there’s enough snowfall to warrant a complete plowing of City streets. To get that done, people need to follow the parking rules and move their vehicles so crews can plow more than 1,500 miles of streets, parkways and alleys full width. It’s important for drivers to follow the Snow Emergency parking rules so plows can do the best job possible clearing snow. Vehicles parked on the street in violation of Snow Emergency rules can be ticketed or towed.

The revised app complements all the other ways Minneapolis spreads the word about Snow Emergencies including direct mail, emails, text messages, automated phone calls, social networks, the Internet, local cable television and through the news media.


Published Dec 11, 2013



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