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Say goodbye to free weekend parking in downtown Minneapolis

The meter changes introduced last week by the City of Minneapolis affects weekend parking.

You'll no longer be able to park on a downtown Minneapolis street for free on weekends, following meter changes introduced by the city last week.

The changes announced by Minneapolis last week was short on specifics, other than the city saying some meters would see their prices rise and their hours limited.

As a result, most of the 2,626 affected downtown meters are now limited to 2-hour stays, with many of those affected near ground floor retail locations, high density residential, and in the areas of Commons Park and the Wells Fargo, Thrivent Financial and Kraus Anderson businesses.

The idea behind it is to ensure on-street parking is only for short-term use, with longer-term parkers urged to use the many ramps and surface lots dotted around downtown.

But the changes are not just limited to busy weekdays, but also weekends.

The City of Minneapolis told BMTN that 521 on-street parking spaces that were previously free in the downtown areas are now time-limited and require payment.

Most of these spaces, the city says, falls in the square between 2nd Ave. S., 5th Ave. S., Washington Ave., and 10th St. S.

These will now carry a $2/hour charge east of 3rd Ave. S., and $3/hour west of it, while all spaces have a 2-hour maximum parking limit.

"It is recommended that long term parkers on the weekend use off-street facilities," a city spokeswoman told BMTN. "Many ramps offer discounts on non-event weekends. For example, the Haaf ramp charges $4 all day on Saturday and Sunday."

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The Star Tribune notes that the city will be cracking down on those who re-fill the meter or use the city parking app to add time to their stay rather than moving their vehicle.

The article mentions that traffic control employees could use the "old-fashioned" way of putting chalk marks on tires to determine if a vehicle has been moved,  potentially writing a ticket or calling for a tow if it hasn't. 

But the city might want to think twice before allowing such a practice to happen, because a court in Michigan just ruled that parking enforcers who chalk someone's tires are in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

As NPR reports, the attorney representing a woman who objected to chalking of her vehicle argued the enforcer was trespassing upon a privately-owned vehicle parked on public land in order to impose a government sanction.

A judge agreed this was a breach of the Fourth, which protects citizens from "unreasonable searches and seizures."

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