Is there anything I can do to help the city with its snow removal efforts?
Yes. Following parking ban guidelines, removing snow from sidewalks promptly, not putting snow in public areas, removing snow around hydrants, and exercising caution while driving near our snow removal vehicles all go a long way in helping us do our jobs. The city always appreciates resident feedback. If you have any questions about our snow removal operations or you’d like to report an issue, please don’t hesitate to call Public Works at 952.924.2562.
Are there any parking exemptions in the winter?
Yes. There are some exceptions, but only in a few neighborhoods where parking is limited because of apartment buildings or commercial businesses. In these areas, parking within the first 24 hours of the snow emergency going into effect is allowed. After the 24 hours has passed, vehicles must be moved to allow snow plows to clear the street in that area. Vehicles that aren't moved are subject to ticketing and towing.
H.O.M.E., a program of Senior Community Services, a non-profit agency, provides homemaking and home maintenance services for residents age 60 or older in many suburban communities of Hennepin County, including St. Louis Park. Their services include snow shoveling, raking and mowing, interior and exterior painting, minor repairs, installation of safety bars, house cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping. To request services, please call 952.746.4046.
Does the city salt slippery sidewalks or trails?
Sidewalks and trails are not treated with chemicals or sand, and are limited to snow removal only. Sidewalks and trails are also extremely difficult to maintain and keep ice-free. As the snow melts, it often gets trapped between the snow banks on either side of the sidewalk or trail where it pools and refreezes.
How can I change the name or mailing address on my water bill?
How can I make sure my water meter or meter interface unit (MIU) is not damaged when I am doing home remodeling work?
When you are making these improvements, make sure the water meter and MIU remain accessible after the work is complete, and that the wiring between the meter and MIU is not damaged.
Put sheetrock over the wiring in basements. Screws may accidentally be run over the wire, either pinching it or breaking the wire completely.
Cover the MIU with sheetrock.
When re-siding your home, do not cut the MIU wire or throw the MIU away. There is a $100 fee for replacing MIUs.
Contact public works at 952.924.2562 if you are re-siding your home. Public works staff can then remove the MIU and reinstall it after the siding work is complete. The siding company will need to drill a ½” hole where the existing MIU is mounted so the MIU wire can be reconnected and the unit can be mounted in the same location
If you have any additional questions, contact the public works department at 952.924.2562.
How can I protect my trees from bur oak blight?
A new disease called bur oak blight (BOB) has been identified in the Twin Cities area and is affecting bur oak trees in St. Louis Park. BOB mimics the symptoms of oak wilt disease, with lots of brown leaves appearing in a tree’s crown and falling off during the latter half of the growing season, typically late to mid-July. BOB tends to be most prevalent during growing seasons that start out cool and wet. Successive years of BOB on your tree can kill your tree. The best treatment for BOB is a fungicide treatment administered by a St. Louis Park-licensed tree service in the early spring. Check your bur oak trees now to see if they are displaying and/or losing brown leaves and plan with your licensed tree service for treatment early next spring.
A list of licensed tree service providers in St. Louis Park can be found under the Tree Care section.
How do I report a pothole?
Potholes on City Streets - St. Louis Park
Call St. Louis Park Public Works at 952.924.2562.
Potholes on County Roads - Hennepin County
Excelsior Boulevard (CR 3) and Minnetonka Boulevard (CR 5)
Call 612.596.0300 or submit online.
Potholes on State Highways - MnDOT
Interstate 394, State Highways 7, 100 and 169
Call 651.366.5165 or submit online.
Whether reporting by phone or online, please be ready to list the street and closest intersection where the pothole exists, and a house number or some way of identifying the location. If you are unsure of which office to call, contact St. Louis Park Public Works at 952.924.2562.
How does salt work in removing ice and snow from roads?
Salt is applied to roadways to lower the freezing point of water. This in turn helps dissolve the snow or ice into a brine solution — a combination of water and salt — and prevents falling snow or rain from freezing. For the salt to work, a heat sources is also needed. The heat source can be air temperature above 15 degrees Fahrenheit, radiant heat from the sun or even friction from tires (traffic).
When the temperature drops below 15 degrees, the effectiveness of salt decreases and it must be treated with calcium chloride or magnesium chloride to help lower the freezing point. At temperatures below zero degrees, bulk products will no longer control snow or ice effectively. The city will then begin to use a sand/salt mixture to providing traction at stop signs, hills and other known hazard locations.
How is the sewer charge on my water bill calculated?
Sewer charges are based on water usage during the winter months. To calculate sewer use, the city reads your water meter during the winter months to determine a quarterly average. This is beneficial to residents because water use is substantially less in the winter. However, if a resident's current actual water use is less than the winter average, the sewer charge is then based on actual water use.
I received a letter that I may have continuous water flow (a water leak). How can I detect the leak?
Homeowners are responsible for all water use, even if it results from a leak, so it’s important to find out what causing the continuous flow. First, check your water meter to confirm the continuous flow. Your water meter is inside your home and has two indicators showing water use. Follow the steps below or watch the video to see how to check it:
Open the black cap on top of the meter.
Shine a flashlight on the solar panel. (It’s important to use a flashlight, not a smartphone – the smartphone light isn’t strong enough to activate the panel.)
The screen below the solar panel will then display the current water meter reading in gallons.
It will also flash other indicators such as “Leak” or “Rate of Flow.” If you see a light in the shape of a faucet, this indicates an intermittent flow (flashing faucet) or continuous flow (faucet light stays on). The rate of flow should be 0.00 if there is no water flowing through the meter.
Once you’ve determined you have a leak, check common leak sources like toilets, water softener malfunctions, indoor and outdoor faucets, humidifiers attached to furnaces and irrigation systems. You may be able to hear a leak before you see it, so listen carefully for water flow or leaks. If you can’t find anything, you may want to hire a plumber to investigate.
If my driveway is plowed in and I throw the snow back into the street, can city crews come by and clean it up?
No. Pushing snow from private property onto a public street actually violates state statute and city ordinance.
Sometimes it seems especially icy following a storm. Does the city treat slippery areas?
The city follows a city council adopted snow removal/ice control policy which provides for snow removal activities and establishes priorities for how this is accomplished. The council has not established a "bare pavement" or ice-free (safety) requirement. The city uses an industry-proven salting strategy that balances financial and environmental responsibility to achieve a safe driving surface for the public.
The effectiveness of salt in removing ice and snow from roads depends on several factors, including the moisture content of the snow, chemical concentration, pavement temperature, weather conditions, road surface topography, traffic volume and width of application.
Road salt is a great tool in the snow and ice fighting toolbox, but it is not a cure-all for all things icy and it doesn’t work well by itself. The purpose of salt is to dissolve the snow or ice into a brine solution, which then activates the melting process. Before any melting occurs, a heat source is required. The heat source can be air temperature above 15 degrees, radiant heat from the sun or even friction from tires (traffic). The city uses accepted industry guidelines that determine the amount of salt required to create the brine needed for various weather conditions.
Thus, treatment of slippery areas with chemicals/sand is essentially limited to high traffic thoroughfares, select hills and curves, and known hazardous intersections. For more information, view our salting strategies.
What are the requirements for shoveling sidewalks?
After a snowfall, snow on residential sidewalks must be removed by the same day if there are six or more hours of daylight following the snowfall or by noon the following day. Sidewalks in front of apartments or commercial buildings must be cleared within four hours once the snow has stopped falling or by the beginning of business hours the next day. Sidewalks are inspected on a random basis. Failure to shovel may result in a fine.
What are the road weight limits in St. Louis Park?
In St. Louis Park, there are special road restrictions in late winter and early spring. The city follows the Minnesota Department of Transportation's (MnDOT) schedule for imposing and removing spring road weight limit restrictions. In a typical year, spring road restrictions go into effect in March and end about eight weeks later, depending on weather conditions.
St. Louis Park's road weight limits are six tons (12,000 lbs.) per axle on residential streets and nine tons (18,000 lbs.) on municipal state aid streets, unless otherwise posted. There are limited instances, such as moving trucks or emergency issues, when a weight waiver will be given. All other requests will be examined for options other than issuing a permit such as to divide the load in two or bring less amounts in on each trip. The city does not issue permits for any type of demolition or construction project for the duration of the restrictions. If a permit is issued, there is a $50 fee and the permit is good for one trip only. No open-ended permits will be issued.
For more information:
Call the MnDOT road restriction hotline at 651.366.5400.
What factors contribute to the effectiveness of salt in removing ice and snow?
The effectiveness of salt in removing ice and snow from roads depends on several factors, including the moisture content of the snow, chemical concentration, pavement temperature, weather conditions, pavement type, traffic volume and width of application.
What is the difference between community and neighborhood sidewalks?
Community sidewalksare located on streets that are directly adjacent to community or area destinations, such as the library, schools, retail areas, parks, regional trails, transit nodes and places of worship. Most of these sidewalks are located along roadways that have high traffic volumes.
Neighborhood sidewalks are all other sidewalks in the city. They provide accessibility for pedestrians within the immediate area and feed into the community sidewalk system. These sidewalks are generally located on lower volume roads.
When does the city sweep the streets?
Spring Sweep (March/April – May). Sweeping commences as soon as the snow/ice allows the sweepers to get into the curb lines. The focus is to remove any organic material or sand applied for snow and ice control. If time allows for a second sweep prior to summer sweep kickoff, the city will sweep a second time.
Summer Sweep (June – July). The goal is to remove any organic material that has migrated to the street/curb lines.
Fall Sweep (Early October – Snow Season). Due to the volume of leaves in the street, sweepers are ineffective so the city uses equipment to push leaves into a pile and haul away. The goal is to remove as many of the leaves as possible prior to snow season to prevent plugged catch basins. Once the majority of the leaves are removed, the sweepers will resume sweeping to do a final clean up.
When I move out of my house, does the city turn off the water?
No. The city does not turn off the water when someone moves out. City staff will obtain a meter reading and send out a final bill.
Why aren't city streets always plowed curb to curb?
When there is a large amount of snow present, snow storage in the medians, boulevards and alleys becomes sparse or non-existent in most places in the city. With boulevards generally being no more than four to five feet wide and alleys having 10 feet or less driving area, snow storage space is in short supply. The fallout from this shortage is that snow banks creep in a couple of feet or more along each curb line to cause the streets to become narrow. Therefore, “curb-to-curb” plowing simply means crews push the snow back as far as possible. This applies to alleys too, where space is likewise restricted due to the large volume of snow.
Why can’t I just rake my leaves into the street?
Grass clippings and leaves that are swept into the street end up in our local water bodies, which causes algae to grow and turns lakes green. Raking leaves into the street is a violation of city ordinance and violators may be fined up to $100.
Why did the city plow snow into my driveway?
When snow banks are large, there are few options for where new snow can go. Snow being cleared from the roadway will build up along the plow until there is a “break” or opening in the snow bank. Often times, the only breaks in the snow banks are driveways so that’s where the snow gets deposited. Due to the significant cost involved, city policies don't allow for the clearing of snow from driveways.
Why is my water bill so high?
Water bills are based on how much water is used. Watering the lawn or garden will increase water usage, as will the addition of occupants in the home. Leaks can also lead to an increase in your water bill. If a water meter detects continuous flow (a water leak), the city will send letters detailing the steps that should be taken.
Why was I asked to provide a drinking water sample?
The city occasionally hears reports of residents being asked to provide water samples. A small bottle is left at a resident's home with a form asking for personal information. The city believes these requests are coming from third-party companies selling water products, such as softeners. When the city conducts occasional water testing, residents are notified well in advance with a letter on official city letterhead. Please don't give out personal information if you're unsure who's asking for it. Also, some third-party sources have used local water safety statistics out of context in an effort to sell products. If you have questions about local water quality, please review the city's annual Drinking Water Reports or visit the Minnesota Department of Health's website.