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Plymouth prepares for snow with changes to plowing policy
The City of Plymouth has made changes to its snow and ice management operations to help improve service times and cul-de-sac plowing. Changes include reducing the snowfall threshold for a snow emergency – a citywide full plow call out and associated parking restrictions – and fine tuning how cul-de-sacs are cleared.
The changes came about after city staff analyzed past years’ snow removal activities, considered resident feedback, reviewed other cities’ policies and examined the results of a plowing survey conducted last spring.
New Snow Emergency Threshold
Beginning this season, a snowfall of 2 inches or more triggers a snow emergency. When a snow emergency is declared, all city streets are plowed curb-to-curb.
Residents are notified via eNotify email, the city's website and social media. To sign up for Snow Emergency Alert emails, visit plymouthmn.gov/eNotify.
The new standard aligns Plymouth’s policy with that of neighboring communities. Plymouth’s previous threshold to declare a snow emergency was 2 1/2 inches or more.
For snowfalls of less than 2 inches, the city treats and plows main roadways. Ice control measures are taken throughout the system, and special attention is given to stop signs, hills, bridges and curves.
The new standard aligns Plymouth’s policy with that of neighboring communities.
Snow Plow Policy
To view the full policy, snow plow FAQs and more, visit plymouthmn.gov/snow.
During a snow emergency, parking is prohibited on city streets until the street has been plowed curb-to-curb. Violators may be tagged and towed.
In addition to plowing-related parking restrictions, Plymouth prohibits parking on city streets year-round from 2-5 a.m.
The city has adjusted routes and staffing to shave off an hour of the time it takes to complete a citywide plow. While each snow event is unique, the goal is to have streets and cul-de-sacs cleared within nine hours after snow quits falling, based on an average snowfall.
Additionally, after a citywide plow has been completed and the full plow crew goes home to rest, the city will retain a small crew to handle routine follow-up calls.
Cul-de-sacs present unique snow plowing challenges – and Plymouth has more than 920 cul-de-sacs among its 320 miles of streets.
Last spring, the city conducted a snow plowing survey using the online survey tool FlashVote. The results showed that residents were satisfied overall with plowing. Of those who voiced concerns, the majority lived on cul-de-sacs. After reviewing survey results, staff considered new options for tackling cul-de-sacs.
Changes include increasing the number of contracted plow drivers clearing cul-de-sacs by creating additional zones to ensure timeliness and requiring contractors keep equipment in each cul-de-sac zone until plowing is completed.
Cul-de-sac plowing will also benefit from new public works positions and additional rental equipment, which the Plymouth City Council approved in the 2018 budget.
As changes take effect, Plymouth Public Works will continue to balance safety, economics, personnel and environmental concerns as it seeks to meet the challenges of winter weather.
During any snow event, drivers are encouraged to give plow operators plenty of room to do their jobs and parents should stay alert to keep children safe when plows are in the neighborhood.
Keep up-to-date on snow emergency information – sign up for snow emergency alert emails at plymouthmn.gov/eNotify.