Snow and Ice Removal FAQs
updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2016
City crews are especially appreciative of the patience and understanding shown by the community as the city works to maintain safe, passable streets throughout the community. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers we hope will provide some insight into challenges faced by the community over the winter.
Q. Why aren’t streets always plowed curb to curb?
A. 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.
Q. The city plowed snow into my driveway. Why did this happen and why won’t you come clear it out for me?
A. 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. City policies do not provide for the clearing of snow from driveways, mostly due to the significant cost to do so.
Q. If my driveway is plowed in and I throw the snow back into the street, can city crews come by and clean it up?
A. No. Pushing snow from private property onto a public street actually violates state statute and city ordinance.
Q. Sometimes it seems especially icy following a storm. Does the city treat slippery areas?
The city has a 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. And recently, use of chemical and/or sand applications have been reduced due to environmental and budgetary implications – especially on streets where traffic volumes and speeds are low. Thus, treatment of slippery areas with chemicals/sand is essentially limited to high traffic thoroughfares, select hills and curves, and known hazardous intersections. Additional information is provided on our website under ice control practices
Q. Is there anything I can do to help the city with its snow removal efforts?
A. 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.