Private property owners, commercial property owners and property occupants are required to clear the sidewalks abutting their property. Snow or ice must be removed within 24 hours after the snow ice have stopped falling. This includes the corner crosswalk area for property owners with the corner lots or those whose property abuts a mid-block crosswalk. Violators of this ordinance who are reported to the Engineering Department are issued a notice to clear the walk. If the sidewalk is still are not clear within another 24 hours, a Street Department crew will clear a path on the walk, and the charge will appear on the property tax bill. The City is not responsible for clearing alleys or the approaches. - Ordinance 5.08(a)
Public Sidewalks & Crosswalks
City ordinance prohibits shoveling, blowing, dumping and plowing snow and ice onto city streets. Fines depend on the amount of cleanup required by Street crews, and property owners are billed accordingly. Property owners should deposit the snow from sidewalks and driveways onto their yards or boulevards (the strip between the curb and sidewalk.)
Residents and private snowplow operators are asked to refrain from shoveling, snow blowing and plowing snow from sidewalks, driveways and parking lots onto city streets. The snow dumped onto the street causes a public safety hazard. It also costs additional city time and personnel to return to previously plowed streets to clear them again.
Department of Public Works and Street Department managers report an increase of ordinance violations from people using snow blowers to blow snow from their sidewalks and driveways onto the streets.
Schools, businesses, shopping centers and other property owners with parking lots are asked to contract their snow clearing services to make sure snow cleared from the lots is deposited on the lot or hauled away, not dumped onto the street. Also, when plowing, do not block vision for passenger cars at intersections.
The Street Department does not automatically apply a uniform amount of salt throughout the city; salt is applied only where it is needed and in an amount appropriate for conditions. Salt may be applied only to the main streets, or only to bridges, hill stops, major intersections or slippery areas. Salt application rates are reduced on side streets.
Truck mounted salt spreaders carry microprocessor-based controls, which adjust the salt spread rate to changes in truck speed. This makes it possible to apply salt uniformly in urban stop-and-go traffic. Also, a mix of liquid calcium chloride and rock salt is used when temperatures are at 25 degrees or below because it helps the salt melt ice more effectively.
Snow & Ice Control in the City
Public safety is the first priority during snow and ice control on the City’s 230 miles of streets. The Street Department supervises the snow and ice control operations.
The size of the operation is based on the severity of the storm. We will use only one or two salt trucks to tackle intermittent salting of isolated slippery spots, but a full scale plowing for a big storm will use over 31 pieces of equipment and include a team of contractors. The most common operation is a General Ice Control in which 5 salt trucks are sent out citywide and is supervised by the Street Department.
When a major storm comes, a General Plowing is called. It may take 8-14 hours to complete, depending on how severe the storm is. After the initial plowing, there’s more work to do. We clear snow islands left by parked cars, remove snow from city owned parking lots and parking ramps. When necessary Street Department and Sewer Department will work together removing snow from city corners and Cul-de-sacs. Clean up goes on several days after a storm.
The City attempts to salt arterial streets at the beginning of a snowstorm. This helps prevent bonding of snow to the pavement and reduces the amount of snow to be plowed later.
Sometimes plows must make two to four passes down a street to clear it curb to curb. The city tries to do this at one time so residents can shovel out driveways and sidewalks. It is best to wait, if possible, until we’ve finished plowing before shoveling out your driveway approach.
The single biggest problem in snow plowing is parked and abandoned cars. Those cars present obstacles to our plows, which we try to get as close to the curb as we can. We regularly return to plow snow islands left by parked cars. If you see an area where a car is moved after the plow goes by, please call the Street Department office at (608) 789-7340.