MUSCATINE, Iowa – The City of Muscatine may not be declaring a snow emergency at this time but residents are urged to take advantage of the protocols that are part of that plan to assist City crews already at work dealing with the incoming winter storm. A snow emergency is actually the enforcement arm of an off-street parking plan designed to assist City crews with snow removal operations by keeping streets clear of parked vehicles from curb to curb.
“A snow emergency really does not benefit our staff or the city during the snow event itself,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said.
The benefit, he said, actually comes after the event ends when City crews are doing push backs (moving snow all the way to the curb). That is not expected to begin until Wednesday.
“We will evaluate where we are at in our snow removal operations on Wednesday and determine if the off-street parking enforcement plan needs to be implemented,” Stineman said.
The public can assist in snow removal now by not parking on city streets unless no other options are available. In addition, residents are requested to remove their garbage and recycle bins from the street so plows can have as much access as possible.
“Cars that have not been moved since the last storm will be ticketed and towed so that plows can access and remove snow from as much of the street as possible,” Stineman said.
The National Weather Service pushed back the expected arrival of accumulating snow to 12-3 p.m., and has reduced the predicted amounts of snowfall to between five and eight inches. Heavy snowfall amounts of over one inch per hour are expected later this afternoon and into the evening commute. Winds gusting as high at 35 mph Monday night could cause blowing and drifting snow, and significantly reduce visibility.
Stineman said that Public Works crews were applying salt brine to the hills and bridges within the city limits Monday morning, and will start applying salt to all city streets slightly before the snow begins. Once the salt runs have been completed crews will begin snow plowing operations, which should coincide with the time the heaviest snowfall is expected.
Crews will focus on emergency routes for the majority of Monday as the heavy snow is expected to keep them covered most of the time. Once the emergency routes have been cleared and snow begins to taper off, plows will move into the residential areas and begin to plow the centerline open. This will not be a complete curb to curb plowing due to the amount of snow the City is projected to receive.
“We ask for patience during this snow event,” Stineman said.
Stineman added that it may take several days for crews to reach and plow all city streets and alleys from curb to curb based on the predicted amount of snow.
“Snow will end up in driveways because there is no feasible way to avoid it,” Stineman said. “Our plow operators will be working 12 hour shifts for days on end to make the streets as safe as possible. Any help and understanding we receive from our residents is greatly appreciated.”
The National Weather Service out of the Quad Cities forecasts that the heaviest snowfall is expected to fall between 3 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Visit Snow & Ice Control on the City of Muscatine website for more information.
PUBLIC CAN HELP IN SNOW REMOVAL OPERATION
Residents are urged to find off-street parking when possible starting Monday afternoon and continuing through at least Thursday to assist in the timely and safe removal of the snow from city streets.
If off-street parking is not an option, residents can use the “alternate side of street” parking plan that is specified in the City of Muscatine Snow Emergency Ordinance.
The “alternate side of parking” plan allows vehicles to be parked on the odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered days, and on the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered days.
For example, since Monday is an odd-numbered day, parking would be acceptable on the odd-numbered side of the street. Vehicles parked on the odd-side on Monday should be moved to the opposite side on Tuesday since Tuesday is an even-numbered day with parking acceptable on the even-numbered side of the street.
On all streets where parking is allowed on one side only, if the permitted side (where parking is allowed) is even numbered, vehicles can park on that side only on even-numbered days. If the permitted side (where parking is allowed) is odd-numbered, vehicles can park on that side only on odd-numbered days.
No parking is ever allowed on the side of the street where parking is prohibited by posted sign.
SNOW REMOVAL FROM SIDEWALKS AND DRIVEWAYS
While the City works to clear streets, alleys, and parking lots of snow and ice, it is the responsibility of property owners to clear their sidewalks. The benefits of clearing sidewalks include reducing the potential for pedestrian falls while traversing the property, and clearing a safe path for public safety personnel if they are needed at the property.
Section 3-1-4 of the Muscatine City Code states that property owners are responsible for clearing natural accumulations of snow and ice from the sidewalks within 24 hours after the last snowfall. If the property owner does not clear the sidewalk in a reasonable time, the City will attempt to notify the property owner to remove the snow and ice. If the City clears the snow and ice, the property owner will be assessed the costs of removal.
Contractors or individuals working to clear sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice accumulations are reminded that depositing snow and ice accumulations upon city streets is a violation of City Ordinance 3-1-7 (D) Dumping of Snow.
Whether you are shoveling, using a snow blower, or utilizing a snow plow, the placement of snow and ice accumulations is required to be on the property of the residence or business, and not pushed or thrown onto city streets.
The Muscatine Fire Department also urges residents to clear away snow from around fire hydrants that may be located on their property as the buildup of snow around these hydrants could slow down response time to residential fires.
AVOIDING THE SECOND PLOW
There is a way that the public can help prevent the buildup of ice and snow in front of their drives and that is by clearing an area to the left of the driveway as pictured to the left in this graphic from the Maine Department of Transportation.
Since plows push the snow to the right as they move down the street, having an area cleared for the snow and ice to be deposited prevents that buildup in front of the driver, thus preventing a “second shovel”.
As we move into the winter season, residents can be better prepared for hazardous conditions by visiting the National Weather Service Winter Safety page.
If you are travelling plan extra travel time, drive slower and more cautiously, bundle up, and check the following links for road conditions: