Snow Plowing

Snow Plowing & Removal

The Snow Plowing initiative relates to MAP Initiative 5, “Managing Community Resources.” Public infrastructure aids in assisting the neighborhood. The plowing initiative relates to the Street Priority Map, which indicates residential street priority in the case of emergency. This is critical to analyze because every successful plowing route is determined by street importance and accessibility.

Why this is important

This initiative was created through information received through resident’s thoughts on safety and accessibility of streets during extreme weather. It is important to allow for emergency vehicles to access all major roads in the event of a snowstorm.

It is important to:

  • Establish, well-known plow route for community to view
    • Alternative route in case of weather havoc
  • Educate community of snow removal; hold a community forum with questions like these:
    • Should I plow my sidewalks?
    • My garage is buried, what do I do?
    • What do I do in an emergency?
    • What happens if a plow damages my property?
    • When is salt applied?
    • Can cars be parked on the street during bad snow conditions?

A low priority level was assigned to this initiative by residents and students. Even though this initiative didn’t receive many votes, its is still important to the neighborhood and can be started after the high and medium priority initiatives.

What this will involve

For the most part, the intensity and duration of a storm dictates when the plows are called out. This is typically left to the judgement of municipal public, however, it would be beneficial to involve community members indicate areas of distress in hazardous weather situations. Community members should be encouraged to be involved and assist in street blockages, icy area, and harsh conditions. Whenever possible, the plows are called out just before the storm ends for ample efficiency. Generally the municipality is broken up into plow routes with a snowplow unit assigned to each route.

Within each route, the priority streets—those considered collector streets, which provide access to hospitals, business areas, and main routes in and out of a community—are plowed first, followed by residential streets, ranked from most traveled to least traveled. In the event that a plow unit assigned to a plow route breaks down, plow units from other areas provide aid.

From the Priority Map,  in the case of a storm of extended duration enough, sufficient plows to maintain priority streets will be engaged initially, until conditions allow for normal plow routes to be followed. Should weather conditions worse to the point that plowing becomes dangerous, plowing may be suspended until conditions improve. A plow and operator may be stationed on standby at an appropriate location within the community, such as a fire department, until conditions allow it to begin plowing again.

Contact information for Funding/Assistance sources

United States Department of Agriculture
Phone:      (202) 690-0433
Contact:  David Chesnick

Suitability analysis

On the map red streets relate to high priority streets whereas green relates to less immediate in plowing schedules. In considering the public opinion, it is best to focus on the education of these maps and a proper plowing schedule.


Summary of relevant case studies

Case Study One: Costing Municipal Services Workbook and Case Study, MA Department of Revenue

This municipality created a workbook to include initiatives and diagrams for cost-assessed public works, which includes plowing and the process of plowing. The guide defines that the purpose of costing is not simply to collect cost data but to provide municipal managers and officials with information they can use to make better management decisions in several areas, including plowing. The most applicable element of this case study is that the intensity of the plowing service was in balance with the taxpayer dollar spent of a given service. RNC residents should know what their tax money is spent on so this case study relates to proper community education and awareness.


Case Study Two: Developing Effective Practices for Snow Removal

Snow and ice make travel difficult, and sometimes dangerous, for people, especially those with disabilities to use pathways to travel independently. This case study represented how the snow should be removed. In Figure 1, it is clear that there are precautions taken for safe snow travel. For instance snow that piled up at the street corners was hazardous to traffic. To accommodate this, the initiatives on plowing force decisions about alignment, judgment, and about when to cross while standing in the street or farther away from the actual crosswalk. Without this, many accidents can happen, a part from the ground being slick. The goals of this case study included removal of snow from travel way, storage/disposal of snow, and maintenance of facilities in safe condition, which all relate to goals of snow plowing efficiency in the RNC neighborhood.



Figure 1: Safe bus travels being implemented in Boulder, CO. Source.



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