Help available for drivers along 1st Avenue as parking enforcement begins

City of Minneapolis staff members will be on the street along 1st Avenue in Downtown through Friday, Oct. 23 helping drivers avoid tickets and tows. Each afternoon from 3 to 4 p.m., several City employees, with assistance from Downtown Improvement District Ambassadors, will be reminding drivers who park incorrectly about rush hour parking restrictions. Also this week, traffic control officers will begin routinely enforcing the new parking rules on 1st Avenue.

Rush hour parking restrictions

Parking on 1st Avenue is not allowed from 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays st Avenue, from Washington Avenue to 6th Street. This week, staff will be reminding drivers as they park between 3 to 4 p.m. that they’ll need to move their vehicles by 4 p.m. or they could face a ticket and tow. The restrictions are needed because during peak times, the parking lane in each direction becomes a driving lane to keep traffic moving.

Don’t park in the bike lane!

During rush hours and large events, the new 1st Avenue operates like many other streets in town, with two lanes of traffic in each direction and bike lanes along the curb. At non-peak times, the outside driving lane becomes a parking lane, so drivers park about six feet away from the curb, to the left of the bike lane. This arrangement, which is unlike other streets in Minneapolis, makes it possible to have two driving lanes in each direction during rush hour while maintaining parking in off-peak hours and keeping the bike lanes along the curb.

In the first week since the change, many drivers have made the adjustment to the new parking setup, but City staff will be out each afternoon talking with drivers who park incorrectly to make sure they understand the new rules. The dividing line between the parking lane and bike lane is marked with overhead and street signs, and with a double white line. As in any situation when driving, drivers shouldn’t cross the double white line. Drivers parked over the line, into the bike lane, could face a ticket and tow.

Minneapolis Public Works staff are continuing to monitor traffic and parking along Hennepin and 1st Avenues, which began carrying two-way traffic about a week ago. It will take some time for new traffic patterns to settle in, so staff will continue monitoring the new arrangement for several weeks, and some adjustments may be made if necessary to improve traffic flow.

Oct. 20, 2009

Published Oct. 20, 2009