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 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.
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 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.
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 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.