Rochester is readying new rules for snow

May 13, 2019

Spring is in the weather forecast, but snow and ice are on the agenda Monday for the Rochester City Council.

In the wake of record-breaking snowfalls, the council is set to look at a draft of a proposed snow and ice management policy.

“The goal of this policy is to provide an effective and efficient approach and response to snow removal in order to provide safe travel for the greatest number of people,” states a memo sent to the council by city staff.

While portions of the proposed policy outline current practices for snow removal, the city doesn’t currently have an adopted snow and ice management policy to outline responses and expectations.

The proposed policy outlines priorities for snow removal and sets specific standards for dealing with snow removal based on the amount.

For instance, less than 2 inches of snow will only spur a partial plowing effort, with 22 operators expected to clear required roadways in less than eight hours. Under the proposed plan, it will not include curb-to-curb clearing and will not cover cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets.

More than 2 inches of snow will require 48 operators, and all roads will be cleared from curb to curb. Snow from a medium event, 2 to 4 inches, would be expected to be cleared within 12 hours, while a storm with more than 6 inches of snow would take an estimated three days to clear.

Along with the proposed policy, the council will continue discussions of proposed parking restrictions aimed at helping facilitate snow removal.

In January, several council members voiced support for considering an alternate-side parking option. “I’m content it does work,” Council Member Michael Wojcik said at the time.

In March, when a snow emergency was issued ahead of potential heavy snowfall, a citywide parking restriction was implemented.

In a presentation prepared for the council, city staff cites the need for clarity in existing policies and suggests options for the council to consider.

Among options is when a winter parking policy would be active, with lengths ranging from the five months starting in November to all year. A time span in the middle of those options — October to May — appears to be the staff suggestion.

Proposed changes and the establishment of a snow and ice removal policy will be discussed by the council during its weekly informational meeting a 3:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center.