Snow Plowing 101

Snow Plowing

Why can't you plow my street now?

We wish we had enough snowplows and drivers to take care of every street right away, but our resources are limited and so we must adhere to a carefully laid out system for clearing the streets. If we allowed our plows to be diverted each time a special request was made, our system would be destroyed and it would take far longer to get all the streets in the city cleared. To keep our snow removal operations as effective and efficient as possible, plows are not permitted to deviate from their assigned routes. Bus routes and arterial streets have first priority for snow plowing. Residential streets with hills of two percent or more grade are second priority. The remainders of the streets are then plowed.

The plow left some snow at the end of my driveway. Can you send someone to come and plow it out?

The Public Works crews do not come back and plow out any driveways.There are thousands of drive ways in the City of Polk City. If we used all of our plows and spent just 60 seconds per driveway, it would take several days to clean driveways alone. One thing you can do to minimize the problem is to pile snow that has been shoveled from the driveway to the right-of-way. Snow should never be shoveled or snow blown into the streets.

Under ideal circumstances, we would be able to predict fairly accurately when we will have streets in various sections of the City plowed. As weather conditions change we often must alter our snow-fighting strategy in the midst of the snow removal operations in order to control drifting snow, ice or other special problems. We cannot give you an estimate of when your street will be cleared due to ever-changing weather conditions.

Why don't you use the big trucks to plow out cul-de-sacs?

The varying sizes of cul-de-sacs present plowing problems ranging from difficult to impossible. A plow can easily cut an 11-foot path through the snow on a straight road surface, but trying to plow and turn the blade in a small circle in a cul-de-sac is very difficult. Therefore, the end loader and city pickup trucks with blades and buckets are used to plow most cul-de-sacs more efficiently than the large trucks. However, there are not enough end loader units for each route. The units are shared by adjoining routes as necessary. This will result in longer response times on cul-de-sacs.

I once saw a snowplow parked during a bad snowstorm. Why was it there instead of on the streets working?

Polk City Public Works snow plow operators take pride in clearing the streets on their routes as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Driving a snowplow can be demanding and tiring work. Common sense and good safety practices dictate that each driver should take a 30-minute break every six hours. It is dangerous, both for the snowplow driver and the public, if a fatigued driver is behind the wheel of a snowplow. It is in the best interest of the all concerned for the drivers to take occasional breaks.

When is parking prohibited on city streets?

When a snow ordinance is in effect any time there is one inch (1”) accumulation of snow or any accumulation of ice. Therefore, no person shall park, abandon or leave unattended any vehicle on any public street during such times of any snow fall or ice accumulation or for a period of twenty-four hours (24) after the termination of any snow fall or ice accumulation. The checklist reminds residents and business owners that when snowfall accumulates to 1 inch or greater, or during any ice storm, it is your responsibility to:

  1. Ensure all vehicles are moved off of any roadway.
  2. Remove any obstructions from the right-of-way within 24 hours after the end of 1 inch or greater snowfall, or any ice storm.

The plows usually take more than one pass down any snow route at any given time. There for again, it is key to keep vehicles off of the public streets for the 24 hours after the termination of any snow or ice accumulation. 

What should I do if my vehicle was ticketed and towed for being illegally parked on the street during snow removal operations?

The Polk City Police Department coordinates all towing operations. If you find that your vehicle has been towed, contact the Polk City Police Department at 515-984-6565