Snow Removal Frequently Asked Questions

The first snowfall of the year is always followed by a number of questions concerning the City’s rules concerning the removal of that snow that has just fallen on your sidewalk or driveway. Here are a few of the questions that are most frequently asked. Contact Public Works at (763) 689-1800 with any additional questions or concerns.

What happens when it starts to snow?
Crews monitor the conditions and apply salt and sand to intersections and bridge decks as needed. Once the snow depth approaches a depth of 3" or more the streets are plowed curb to curb and once again salted and sanded.

Why do certain streets get more attention than other streets?
Some streets have been designated snow emergency routes. These streets are important because they provide a route to and from critical locations within the city; hospital, schools, businesses, neighborhoods.

Why do they plow my driveway closed after I just cleaned it out?
Crews plow 61 miles of streets, each plowing event averages 5 hours to plow from curb to curb. The timing of the snowfall does not always allow staff to finish plowing before the driveways are cleared.

Why can’t I push the snow from my driveway out into the street?
This will create a potential safety issue because a car driving by can hit the snow, especially if the City snowplow has already gone by to clear the street, and lose control. This action creates liability for the homeowner because they deposited the snow onto the street surface creating the hazard.

Why can’t I park on the street overnight?
There are overnight parking restrictions in place every winter. No resident is allowed to park on a city street between the hours of 2:00AM - 7:00AM from November 1 – March 30. The regulations have been put in place to facilitate the removal of snow, and to allow safe passage of emergency response vehicles.

Am I responsible for keeping my sidewalk shoveled?
YES. Owners and occupants are required to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk adjacent to their property within 48 hours of a snowfall.

Downtown businesses are required to shovel sidewalks prior to 9:30 a.m. on Mondays through Saturdays. City staff will periodically remove snow and ice from downtown sidewalks but only when the snowfall amount exceeds 3 inches in depth. Snow and ice should be removed at least every 4 hours or when the accumulation reaches 1 inch between the following hours:  

Monday through Friday:

  • From 8:00 a.m. or when the business opens (whichever is earlier).
  • From 6:00 p.m. or when the business closes (whichever is later).

Saturday:

  • From 8:00 a.m. or when the business opens (whichever is earlier).
  • From 12:00 noon or when the business closes (whichever is later).

If you are located in the “Sidewalk Improvement District (see map), City staff will remove snow and ice that has fallen and accumulated on sidewalks within the Sidewalk Improvement District.

If you are not located in the Sidewalk Improvement District or the Downtown Area than the snow and ice that has fallen or accumulated must be removed within 48 hours by the owner or tenant of the property that abuts the sidewalk.

Am I responsible for keeping the Fire hydrant in front of my house clear of snow?
City staff does periodically clear snow in front of fire hydrants, but the Fire Department would appreciate any assistance from homeowners. The City water system contains 675 fire hydrant, all of which are very important to the Fire Department. The fire hydrant closest to your residence will be used if you or any of your neighbors should have a fire, so the ability to access that hydrant in case of a fire is very important. If each residents clears snow from a nearby hydrant it would ensure that every hydrant is accessible if needed.

Can I ride my snowmobile or ATV on city streets?
Residents are allowed to drive on city streets to enter or exit the City limits, or to gain access to a designated snowmobile/ATV trail. The operator is required to drive as close to the right hand curb or road edge as possible. The operator is not allowed to drive on sidewalks, boulevards, or any trail provided for pedestrian travel.