Why isn’t my street plowed?

snow-removal-6

During a snowstorm, Provo City’s snowplows are sent out after snow starts to accumulate. Snow plowing on arterial and collector roads always takes a first priority. For obvious reasons the high capacity roads must come before smaller neighborhood roads. During our large and long storm following Christmas, crews spent almost all their time cleaning high capacity roads. Almost as quick as they could plow them, they were once again covered with snow. Next in priority comes regulated intersections, hillsides and curves followed by secondary and residential streets.

One of the most common questions I’ve had during the recent snow storm is why hasn’t the City plowed University Avenue. Many are surprised to learn that roads owned by the State are plowed by the UDOT and not the City. These include University Avenue, South State Street, 300 South and 500 West. Much like the City they also make difficult decisions about which roads get attention first. I15 will always come before State roads within our City.

The City has 8 main routes and plows that are put to work each storm. The crews have put in many 12-15 hour days during the recent storms. The frequency and severity of our recent storms have stressed our resources and still left many side streets, dead-ends and cul-de-sacs with frozen surfaces.

I’m grateful for both our crews and our residents that have all been very patient. As a City we will continue to evaluate our policy and look for methods to deliver the best possible service with the resources that are given to us.

How you can help

I would also like to remind everyone that when it snows, residential and business property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks safe.

The Provo City Code states that the owner, tenant or lessee of property must remove snow or ice from the sidewalks any time that the average snow depth exceeds one inch, or when snow or ice on the sidewalk presents an unreasonably dangerous condition.  Most cities have a similar requirement.

Here’s what we all need to do:

  • Park cars off the street.
  • Move obstacles like basketball stands and disabled vehicles off the street.
  • Place garbage and recycling containers close to the curb and bring them in as soon as you can.
  • Clear your sidewalk any time the snow gets deeper than an inch. (Remember, you, as the owner, tenant or lessee of property are required to remove snow or ice within 24 hours.)
  • Consider those around us who need some help such as older neighbors, neighbors who are out of town. Help them out!
  • If you leave town, make arrangements for snow removal in your absence.
  • Take care not to pile the snow high and don’t pile it into the street. Don’t blow it into the street either. Leave the sight lines open. (If the snowplow throws snow onto your walk, please understand it’s unavoidable and clear the way again.)
  • Remember, the snowplow trucks are difficult to maneuver and may have less traction than a car. Don’t try to pass one on a hill. Give a snowplow plenty of room.

When removing snow from sidewalks, property owners should make every effort to keep the snow on their property to prevent obstructing street travel or limiting the visibility of motorists. Some sidewalks are so close to travel lanes that city and UDOT snow plow crews may throw snow from the street onto sidewalks.  While this can be frustrating for property owners, it does not reduce the importance of keeping sidewalks safe for pedestrians.

By working as a cohesive community, we increase the effectiveness of our efforts and make our city a safer place to walk and drive. The public may report sidewalk snow and ice hazards to the city by dialing 3-1-1.  You can also read the city ordinance regarding sidewalk snow removal here (look for section 9.16.040).

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  1. Aaron Skabelund

    Thanks to the city (and state) crews who clear our roads, and thanks for the reminder that residents and businesses need to keep their sidewalks clear of snow. With few exceptions, my neighborhood of Rivergrove is doing a great job this year despite all the snow. Thank you mayor for helping to create a culture that encourages and enables walking and bicycling. Speaking of biking, which was not mentioned in this post, what is the city’s policy for clearing bicycle lanes? I hope it is 24 hours just like it is for roads and sidewalks. The city and state crews plowing the roads generally clear the bike lanes fairly well but the last few days, several days after our last big snowstorm, I have noticed some sections of lanes along 800 North and 400 East that have not been cleared and were encrusted in ice. When we bicyclists call 311, the city is great about responding quickly to our requests, but it would be nice if clearing all bike lanes within 24 hours was an official policy that was being followed and did not need to be followed up on. During my visit to Fort Collins last week, I learned that that is their policy and saw city crews clearing a protected bicycle lane using special equipment for the task after they had been hit by a huge snow event. I am encouraging BYU to adopt the same policy. At CSU, they cleared sidewalks, roads, and then bike lanes, in that order, within 24 hours.

  2. Joey Johnson

    This info was very helpful, thank you!

  3. JACQUI HILTON

    it was pointed out that roads are done in priority order. knowing that UDOT is responsible for 500 W and University and pointing out that I-15 will always come first doesn’t comfort me much. I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems to me that leaving the two north/south main arteries through the city, including up to the canyon, unplowed until the freeway is no longer a priority is dangerous, irresponsible, and a pretty big safety issue for the citizens of Provo. I feel like, in this case, the city has a responsibility to make sure that these main roads are plowed for the safety of the residents, regardless of whose responsibility it is and that talks for some kind of agreement for compensation or whatever it would take to make it happen should happen immediately.

  4. Lana

    Still waiting for a grocery store on west center where they removed all the homes there it’s been empty for 13 years Smith’s was suppose to put one there what’s up with that they went and built another store in Springville by wall art down the cornor Allen’s going up the canyon reams but were not close to newskin and all that you have done for that area ?????? But make sure you have a Mormon church on each cornor

    1. Jason

      You seem grumpy.

  5. Angie

    With the recent storms, the city was very efficient in my area. They even can into my cul-de-sac which doesn’t happen often.
    Great job!! I do however wish that property owners would have made more of a effort to help the crews out and their fellow neighbors.

  6. Thank you so much snow plow drivers. I’m sure it wasn’t your plan to be driving on Christmas day. We appreciate you!

  7. Austin

    I always shovel the sidewalks near my apartment. It’s not technically my responsibility (the lazy apartment managers are), but as a resident I don’t want others or myself to put up with icy sidewalks. It doesn’t take long to shovel a couple hundred feet and to clear the crosswalks so that all people (walking, stroller-ing, wheelchair-ing) can access the sidewalks.

    If everyone would just care a little more.

  8. Kary

    Why is it that my neighbor (working for Provo city) can come shovel his area and home, his neighbors, and the following church members houses during working hours? It’s Provo city equipments truck so thought I’d ask? I wish he could at least done the whole road while he was at it.

  9. Linda

    The snow plow driver in our neighborhood does a fantastic job! It’s so nice to have the roads plowed and salted when I’m out early driving kids to school. Thanks so much Provo City!

  10. Lizzie

    It is several days after a storm, and a neighbor in my area STILL has not shoveled, and there is a lot of snow there! I wish residential area’s would be enforced a little better.

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