Snow and Ice FAQ
The main arterials, the streets with the highest traffic levels, are top priority because they serve the greatest number of users and connect to other cities and highways. If a storm continues for many hours or days, the arterials will receive several passes. Residential areas are third and fourth in priority.
Even after the plows go by, I still see snow on my street. Why don't they plow all the way down to the pavement, curb to curb?
The goal is to make the streets passable, not 100 percent free of snow. Trying to plow down to bare pavement can cause premature wear or damage to the blades, resulting in costly repairs and lost time. If conditions are severe, the city may contract grader services to scrape the ice and packed snow from the pavement.
The type of storm will determine the number of snowplows deployed and the number of shifts assigned. We have six large plow trucks and several smaller pieces of equipment for snow removal. Crews and plows are assigned on a rotating shift basis following the priority routes discussed above. We have eight employees in our Street Service Division and must frequently rely on qualified drivers from other city departments to assist with snow removal efforts. If the storm is severe, we may contract outside services to assist.
We try to open as many streets as possible to allow movement throughout our city. In many cases there is a limit as to how much snow can be pushed up to the curb without burying sidewalks, driveways, and vehicles. With the exception of a severe storm, the sun usually melts most of the snow within a few days. Our goal is to make streets safe and passable while keeping operating costs low.
Blocked driveways are an unfortunate consequence of plowing. Whenever possible, crews try to avoid pushing large amounts of snow in front of driveways or onto sidewalks. However, depending on the amount of snowfall, this may not be possible. Residents are responsible for removing the snow per the city's Municipal Code.
Why do I see plows traveling down unplowed streets with their blades raised? Shouldn't they be plowing?
They are most likely traveling from one priority street to another street of the same or higher priority. If they keep their blades down as they move from one area to another, a lot of time is lost. It is the city's goal to clear the streets systematically based on traffic volume.
The predicted severity, duration, and temperature will help determine whether de-icer is applied prior to a storm event. First priority will be arterials, overpasses, and hills. Salt may be applied to intersections, hills, school zones, and other high traffic areas as they become snow-packed and slippery.