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Departments » Public Works
Winter Page


Snow & Ice Operations Update




How You Can Help

HELP MAKE YOUR STREET SAFE

• Please make sure mail boxes are installed properly, according to United State Postal Service regulations.
• Please do not park vehicles on the street following a snowfall. Working around parked cars in the street does not allow plows to get close to the curb, which results in them coming back again to plow and costing additional tax dollars. Cars parked on the street between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. may be ticketed and towed.
• Please do not park in driving lanes if snow is blocking the parking lane.
• Please do not park your vehicle at the end of your driveway in a way that would impede the City plow.
• Please do not place garbage or recycling containers on snow banks or in the road. This is prohibited and may result in items not being collected. Place your containers in your driveway opening to allow collection crews access to your container, and the snow plows to stay close to the curbs.
• Please do not blow, plow or throw snow onto any City Street or sidewalk. Snow blown, plowed or shoveled onto any city right-of-way is a hazard to other motorists, is a violation of City of Appleton Ordinance 16-10 and is subject to a citation.
• Please keep the catch basin adjacent to your property free from ice and snow to help prevent localized flooding.
• Please adopt one of the City’s 3,300 fire hydrants this winter by keeping it clear of snow. You will help to keep your neighborhood safe by providing the Fire Department easy access in case of an emergency.
• Please do not allow children to play or build snow tunnels on snow banks along the road.
• Please do not discharge your sump pump or other liquids onto streets or sidewalks. This can cause unsafe, icy conditions for pedestrians and motorists.

GARBAGE COLLECTION DURING SNOW STORM

• Assume garbage collection will be collected on your regular garbage day (even if recycling is canceled) unless informed otherwise. Collection may be delayed a few hours due to the snow.
• Please put your can out the night before your collection.
• Do not place garbage containers in the street. Containers must be placed in the driveway apron or on the terrace (not on snow bank).

HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS

The City would like to encourage everyone to be a good neighbor. Think about neighbors and friends who do not have the ability to shovel snow from public sidewalks, their walkways and driveways. Let neighbors know ahead of time if you are willing to help. Check with these neighbors after a storm to be sure they are okay and ask if they need assistance.


Snow Shoveling


Sidewalks are a critical part of our City's transportation system. Many people rely on sidewalks to get to school, work and play. Please remember, an un-shoveled sidewalk will trap people using wheel chairs and will slow down emergency responders.

SIDEWALK SHOVELING

To provide safe sidewalks for pedestrians, the owner or occupant of the property immediately adjacent to a public sidewalk is responsible for the removal of any snow or ice that accumulates on the sidewalk. Property owners are required to remove snow and ice per City Ordinance Section 16-10 Snow and Ice Removal, which reads:

(a) Every person shall, no later than 36 hours following cessation of a snowfall, remove all snow and/or ice from the entire width of the sidewalk in front of the premises owned or occupied by him; provided that, immediately after the accumulation of ice on such sidewalk it shall be treated with sand, salt or other substance to prevent it from being slippery. The ice shall continue to be so treated in such a manner as to prevent the ice from being dangerous until it can be removed and shall then be promptly removed. If the owner or occupant of such premises shall fail to remove such snow and ice or to sprinkle a sidewalk as required, the work shall be done under the direction of the Common Council and the expenses thereof made a special tax upon the lot in front of which such work was done.

(b) No person shall remove or cause to be removed any snow or ice from his premises, residence, parking lot, parking area, business property or other area onto any public right-of-way or property. Snow removed from public sidewalks shall not be stored in any manner which will obstruct or limit vehicular or pedestrian vision, movement or access.

(c) The deposit of any snow or ice upon any sidewalk, alley or street of the city contrary to the provisions of this section is a nuisance, and in addition to the penalty provided for violation of this chapter, the City may summarily remove any snow or ice so deposited and cause the cost of removal to be charged to the owner of the property from which the snow or ice has been removed.


If walks are not cleared and the Department is notified (we do not actively seek violations) the City's contractor will remove the snow. The contractor hired to perform this service takes "before" and "after" pictures of the site. The cost of clearing the sidewalk is currently $75 plus $0.40 per foot after the first 100 feet and is billed to the property owner.

CURB RAMP SHOVELING

Property owners on corner lots must also remove snow and ice from curb ramps. These ramps are considered an extension of the sidewalk system. A city contractor is also hired annually to clear priority curb ramp locations.

ORDINANCE

MUNICIPAL CODE, CHAPTER 16, Sect 16-10 SNOW & ICE REMOVAL
(a) Every person shall, no later than 36 hours following cessation of a snowfall, remove all snow and/or ice from the entire width of the sidewalk in front of the premises owned or occupied by him; provided that, immediately after the accumulation of ice on such sidewalk it shall be treated with sand, salt or other substance to prevent it from being slippery. The ice shall continue to be so treated in such a manner as to prevent the ice from being dangerous until it can be removed and shall tehn be promptly removed. If the owner or occupant of such premises shall fail to remove such snow and ice or to sprinkle a sidewalk as required, the work shall be done under the direction of the Common Council and the expenses thereof made a special tax upon the lot in front of which such work was done.

(b) No person shall remove or cause to be removed any snow or ice from his premises, residence, parking lot, parking area, business property or other area onto any public right-of-way or property. Snow removed from public sidewalks shall not be stored in any manner which will obstruct or limit vehicular or pedestrian vision, movement or access.

(c) The deposit of any snow or ice upon any sidewalk, alley or street of the city contrary to the provisions of this section is a nuisance, and in addition to the penalty provided for violation of this chapter, the City may summarily remove any snow or ice so deposited and cause the cost of removal to be charged to the owner of the property from which the snow or ice has been removed.


SNOW SHOVELING COMPLAINTS

Complaints regarding un-shoveled sidewalks should be directed to the Public Works Inspections Division at 832-6474. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Once a complaint is received, the City will investigate the complaint. If the property is in violation of the City's Snow and Ice Removal Ordinance, the City will take the appropriate action. The property owner will not receive a courtesy notice that they are in violation of this violation.

The contractor or City staff hired to perform these services will take "before" and "after" pictures of the site. The cost of clearing the sidewalk is currently $75 plus $0.40 per foot after the first 100 feet and is billed to the property owner.



Winter Parking

ON-STREET PARKING RESTRICTIONS

City ordinances establish on-street parking restrictions. Changes to these restrictions are under the jurisdictions of the City Traffic Engineer and Municipal Services Committee. The City has a general prohibition against on-street parking between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. This prohibition allows the department to plow snow in the winter, sweep the streets, collect leaves, and enhances the efficiency of our automated refuse collection program. It also is a tool used by the police when monitoring neighborhoods for illegal activities. Overnight parking permission can be obtained on a case by case basis from the Police Department. Permits are issued to property owners in construction areas that allow them to park overnight until access to their driveway is re-established.

Class I Snow Emergency

City ordinance states that a Snow Emergency may be declared when conditions warrant that effective and complete plowing can only be accomplished when vehicles are not on the street and in the way. The declaration of a Snow Emergency is actually a trigger that initiates a predefined set of parking regulations that allow for the complete plowing of streets.

Class I - Snow Emergency Includes:
• No Parking on any City street from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
• No Special Permission granted by Police Department.
• Vehicles found in violation are ticketed and removed.

A Class I Snow Emergency is similar to the standard, year round on-street parking restrictions, with the exception that no special permission will be granted to park on City streets.

Class II Snow Emergency

City ordinance states that a Snow Emergency may be declared when conditions warrant that effective and complete plowing can only be accomplished when vehicles are not on the street and in the way. The declaration of a Snow Emergency is actually a trigger that initiates a predefined set of parking regulations that allow for the complete plowing of streets.

Class II - Snow Emergency Includes:
• Odd – Even Parking on City streets from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
• No Parking on any City street from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
• No Special Permission granted by Police Department.
• Vehicles found in violation are ticketed and removed.

A Class II Snow Emergency restricts parking to the odd and even sides of the streets respective to the date. For example, if a Class II is declared on the thirteenth of a month, parking would be allowed on the odd side of the street from 5:00 a.m. of the 13th through 2:00 a.m. of the 14th. No parking would be allowed from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. on the 14th. At 5:00 a.m. on the 14th, parking on the even side of the street would be allowed until 2:00 a.m. of the 15th.

Class III Snow Emergency

City ordinance states that a Snow Emergency may be declared when conditions warrant that effective and complete plowing can only be accomplished when vehicles are not on the street and in the way. The declaration of a Snow Emergency is actually a trigger that initiates a predefined set of parking regulations that allow for the complete plowing of streets.

Class III - Snow Emergency Includes:
• No Parking on any City street at anytime until cancelled.
• Vehicles found in violation are ticketed and removed.

A Class III Snow Emergency restricts parking on all City streets, at all times. All cars parked on the street can be towed away.


Winter Transportation Tips

Snow plow operations may not commence until after you need to travel, especially if you need to travel during or immediately following a snow storm, so be sure to plan ahead and leave early. Remember to always bring a shovel, blankets and proper winter clothing with you when traveling.

Snowplows can generate flying debris as well as cause soft snow to swirl. This makes it difficult for you to see the plow and for the plow driver to see you. Because snow equipment may need to slow down, stop or back up, please stay back and give snowplows and equipment room to work.

WINTER BICYCLING TIPS

Choose your route carefully. The heat from traffic helps clear streets of snow and ice. The places that will be best to ride are where cars are driven, not near the side of the street which will stay icy and snow covered. Try to find streets that have enough traffic to clear the snow and ice, but not so much traffic that you feel uncomfortable riding in the path cleared by the cars.

Adapting to winter road conditions for bicycling is similar to changes needed for driving a car. On snow covered or icy roads, ride slower, be aware of hazards and know how to react to them.

Be visible. There are fewer bicyclists on the road and motorists often do not expect to see bicyclists. Wear bright colors during the day to announce your presence. At night there is no substitute for the best lights you can afford. Reflective strips on clothing, leg bands, vests, etc. also help at night.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/motorist/winterdriving/



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Snow Operations Guidelines

The Department of Public Works considers all winter precipitation events to be a form of winter weather emergency. Whether it's a freezing drizzle or a snowstorm that drops 14 inches of snow, appropriate crews are dispatched in response to the conditions. The response may range from a few salt trucks to cover freezing bridge decks, to a full mobilization of up to 35 snow plows. Appropriate snow and ice control operations are performed, regardless of whether or not the severity of the event warrants a Snow Emergency declaration.

The City of Appleton strives to maintain adequate traction for vehicles properly equipped for winter driving conditions. This does not mean bare, dry pavement should be expected after each snow fall. Furthermore, this does not mean that the streets will be free of ice and snow. The following is a summary of the City’s Snow and Ice Control Program.

THE BASICS

Snow and ice control is performed on the following:
• 345 Miles of streets (approximately 800 lane miles)
• 40 Miles of sidewalks
• 150 Cul-de-sacs
• 13 Bridges
• 21 Hills
• 58 Alleys

To put 345 miles of streets into perspective, consider that each street must be plowed in two directions, and many other streets with more than 2 lanes are plowed in four directions. Thus, there are some 800 "lane miles" in Appleton, that set end to end, would stretch from Chicago, Illinois to Dallas, Texas!

SALTING

Salting will commence, when, in the opinion of the on call supervisor, an unsafe condition for travel exists. Salting operations can vary greatly, depending on whether there is a need for citywide coverage or if the slippery areas are isolated. Attention is given to City streets according to the designated priorities as follows:

Priority 1 - Primary Streets (Arterials), Bridges and Hills
Priority 2 - Secondary Streets (Collectors)
Priority 3 - Low Volume Residential Streets (Locals),
Priority 4 - Dead Ends, Cul-de-sacs and Alleys

Please Note: New concrete, residential streets that were paved the prior season will be salted at intersections only. This is done to help protect the concrete until it is fully cured.

When icy conditions occur in the City, hazardous situations will present themselves in numerous locations at the same time. It must be realized that salting crews cannot be in all places at all times, and the affect of salting is not immediate.

Clearing Wisconsin’s winter roads usually requires de-icing chemicals. In Wisconsin, the most common chemical, salt (sodium chloride), usually comes from mined rock salt that has been crushed, screened and treated with an anti-caking agent. De-icing salt is relatively light - just over one ton per cubic yard and comes as a mixture of 3/8” granules to fine crystals.

Road salt works by lowering the freezing point of water. Even when the pavement temperature is below freezing, it holds some heat which can help melt snow and ice. A 23.3% concentration of salt water will not freeze until the temperature is below 0o F. As temperatures drop, the amount of salt needed to melt a given quantity of ice increases significantly. Salt can melt five times as much ice at 30o F. as it can at 20oF. Melting rates become very low below 20oF. Other factors that strongly influence the melting rate of ice include chemical concentration, application rate, air temperature, pavement temperature, pavement surface, traffic volume and time of application.

Anti-icing is a road maintenance strategy that is performed to keep the bond between ice and the pavement surface from forming. It involves applying ice control chemicals, typically with a liquid spray, before or at the very beginning of a storm. Using this strategy, especially on hills and bridges, reduces total chemical use and allows a higher level of service to the traveling public.

SNOW PLOWING

Snowplowing will commence when, in the opinion of the on call supervisor, sufficient snow exists to be a hazard to traffic. Several factors are considered when deciding when to plow, such as the amount and density of snow, wind speeds, drifting, temperature, duration of the storm, time the storm starts and ends, the amount of time our drivers have been plowing and peak traffic times. These factors all influence how long the snow plow operation will take to complete.

The on call supervisor will typically prepare for City-wide plowing operations to commence at or near the end of the storm. Attention is given to City streets according to the designated priorities as follows:

Priority 1 - Primary Streets (Arterials), Bridges and Hills
Priority 2 - Secondary Streets (Collectors)
Priority 3 - Low Volume Residential Streets (Locals)
Priority 4 - Dead Ends, cul-de-sacs and alleys

During the snowstorm, main streets (arterials) will typically be patrolled throughout the storm. Secondary streets (collectors) will be patrolled as frequently as possible. Low volume residential streets (locals) may not be plowed until the storm ends. Where steep hills or other safety concerns exist, a street may be advanced to a higher priority for plowing. For operating efficiency, some lower priority streets may be done when equipment is in the area rather than doubling back at a later time.

Plows must make two to four passes down a street to clear it curb to curb. The reason for plowing the snow back to the curb is to maintain the road width, keeping roads safe for motorists. It is best to wait, if possible, until we’ve finished plowing before shoveling out your driveway approach.

Parked and abandoned vehicles present obstacles to plows attempting to get as close to the curb as possible. We regularly need to plow again the night after a snow event to plow where vehicles had previously been parked and to plow corners back to the curb to expose catch basins. This may result in snow being deposited in your driveway apron after you have already shoveled.

The City does not plow private property and does not remove snow piles from driveways as a result of our snow plow operation. Snow removal from driveways and sidewalks is the sole responsibility of the property owner.

Cul-de-sacs will typically be plowed to the center of the cul-de-sac. The snow pile will be hauled away by City crews as time permits.

SNOW REMOVAL

Snow removal, or hauling, may be necessary after heavy storms or after a series of storms in areas where there is limited or no snow storage area. Snow removal does not occur every time plowing operations occur and will vary depending on the timing of the storm, the amount of precipitation received, and the forecast. The equipment used to remove snow from the streets includes graders, end loaders, large snow blowers and dump trucks.

Public Works crews will remove snow first from areas where it causes the most disruption to traffic and parking. This will generally include arterial streets with little or no terrace area. The next priority will be collector streets, followed by cul-de-sacs. As time permits, Public Works management may select additional streets within the city for widening to the face of the curb. This may be necessary due to traffic congestion, parking, school activities or other traffic concerns.



Mailbox Damage


If a properly installed mailbox is damaged by a snowplow, the property owner should call the Municipal Service Building at 832-5580. Upon verification of the claim, the cost of replacement will be reimbursed up to $ 125.00 after processing and sent via the mail.

The Department of Public Works will not make this payment for mailboxes which are damaged due to the force of the snow. Only in the event that the mailbox is properly installed and our equipment actually strikes a mailbox causing damage, will payment be made.

Proper Mailbox Placement

Proper mailbox placement is important for City crews as well as Post Office mail carriers. Snowplows, street sweepers, and garbage trucks can damage mailboxes that extend over the road. Please check your mailbox to make sure that it is in compliance with Post Office guidelines.

Mailboxes should be installed at a height of 42-48 inches from the road surface to the bottom of the mailbox or point of mail entry, and set back 8 inches from the front face of the curb or road edge to the mailbox door. Where there is no curb, the height of the mailbox should be 48” from the top of the ground to the bottom of the mailbox.

The City of Appleton will not be responsible for any mailbox, damaged in the course of City operations, that does not meet the above requirements.



Curb & Terrace Damage

Each winter, our plows unavoidably cause some damage to curbs and terrace areas through our snow plowing efforts. Each spring, the Public Works Department repairs curb sections and top soils and seeds damaged terrace areas at no charge to residents. Calls regarding curb or terrace damage should be directed to the Municipal Service Building (832-5580.)



Frequently Asked Questions


A street near mine was just plowed. Does that mean mine will be next?
Plow routes in the City of Appleton are designed taking into consideration arterial and collector streets, streets around schools, hospitals, bus routes, hills and bridges. Residential streets are then plowed by breaking the route into sections. Because of this the street next to you may have been plowed but does not necessarily mean your street will be plowed next.


Can the snow be plowed to the median/boulevard of the street?

Medians and boulevards typically do not get plowed to the middle because the snow banks create vision issues at intersections. Medians and boulevards are also designed to drain water from the middle of the road to the curb. Plowing snow to the center median results in melting snow to run across the road; this can refreeze and create icy roadway conditions.


Why did the snowplow bury my sidewalk?

The City of Appleton does not intentionally bury sidewalks. The plow drivers need to plow at the right speed to put the snow on top of the snow banks. If they plow to slow the snow sloughs off the banks into the road, narrowing the streets as winter progresses. If they plow to fast the snow goes over the bank and sometimes onto the sidewalk. To add difficulty to this balancing act the area between the curb and sidewalk often times is quite narrow offering little storage area for the snow.


Can you plow my street first in case I have a medical emergency and an ambulance needs to get through?

The City of Appleton Police Department and Public Works Department work closely during snow events. If there is an emergency, medical or otherwise, we work together to assure access for all emergency vehicles.


Will I get a bill or a citation if I don’t remove the snow & ice from my sidewalk? What if the snow was from the City plow?

You have 36 hours from the end of a snow event to clear your sidewalk, regardless if the snow was deposited from a plow. If you do not remove the snow and ice from your sidewalk within 36 hours the city will have a contractor remove it at your expense. (See home page for official end of snow event)


Why do the plows drive so fast that they throw snow all over my sidewalk?

The plows need to drive at a certain rate of speed to get the snow up and onto the snow bank. As a result, some snow may roll up and over the snow bank and fall onto your sidewalk.


Why do I get more snow on my corner lot than others do in the middle of the block?

All of the snow builds/accumulates on the plow as it starts to turn the corner. All of this extra snow "releases" from the plow as it completely turns the corner, typically leaving a large pile at the point of the turn. Also, there is more road surface area in an intersection than in a typical mid block road area which further increases the amount of snow coming off the plow at that point. In addition to the snow at the corner there will also be a larger amount of snow along the curb line until the truck is 50-100 feet down the block.


What can I do about snow plows that block my driveway or mailbox with snow?

This is an unfortunate side effect of plowing all streets in the City. All snow must be plowed to the curb and as a result driveways get blocked with the wet, heavy snow from the plow. It is the property owner’s responsibility to clear the snow from the bottom of the driveway and around the mailbox.



Contact Us

Questions, complaints or compliments regarding snow and ice removal operations should be directed to the Public Works Municipal Services Building at 832-5580. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Complaints regarding unshoveled sidewalks should be directed to the Public Works Inspections Division at 832-6474. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.



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