Snow Removal FAQ

Why do the snow plows pile snow at the end of the driveway?

  • Plows push snow they do not remove it.  Snow ridges will continue to be created with each pass of the plow.
  • If the driveway is cleared before the final pass, additional snow will be deposited at the end of the driveway by the plow.
  • If you must clear the driveway before plowing has ended, it is best to deposit the snow to the right of the driveway as you face the street, as shown in the diagram.
where to pile the snow
What can residents do to help?
  • Park all vehicles in driveway.
  • Share driveway space with your neighbor.
  • If able, shovel snow away from hydrants and drain inlets.
  • When shoveling or using a snow blower, do not deposit snow into the street.
pw snowy street

Why is it important for plows to clear the street all the way to the curb?
  • Pushing snow to the curb provides snow crews room to operate should a second storm move in shortly after the initial snowfall.  
  • In addition, it is important to keep drain inlets open.  This is especially important if temperatures drop and the snow freezes.  If melting occurs along the streets and the inlets are packed with snow, water will not drain off the street. Falling temperatures may lead to a re-freeze causing icy conditions.
pw storm drain in snow
I live in a cul-de-sac. The last time it snowed we had 10 inches and everything looked fine.  This time we had 4 inches and my driveway and mailbox have snow piles in front of them. Why is this the case?
  • The City has more than 350 cul-de-sacs, many of which have curbside mailboxes.  In deeper snows cul-de-sacs are cleared using equipment (loaders, backhoes) which have buckets that can lift snow and deposit it in a location that is less likely to interfere with a driveway or mailbox.
  • Loaders are expensive and it is not feasible to use them in all cases. In lighter snows cul-de-sacs are cleared using trucks equipped with plows. Plows displace snow and are not capable of lifting and depositing snow in a different area.Drivers using plows are instructed to avoid pushing snow near mailboxes and driveways as much as possible.  However, the location of driveway entrances and the close proximity of mailboxes along the curb line do not always allows for this possibility. Consequently, it is not unusual for snow to pile up when using plows, requiring snow additional shoveling. This is especially true if cars are parked in the cul-de-sac.
  • Parked cars further complicate plowing efforts by disrupting the ability of the plow to move snow along a continuous path. This can cause piles of snow to be pushed to the curb in an undesirable location.  When multiple vehicles are present, maneuvering safely can become impossible. In such cases plowing may be limited to opening up the straight portion of the street approaching the bulb.
pw continuous path plowing (2)
When the cul-de-sac is free of cars, the plow can easily clear the entire area in one continuous path.

pw cars in cul-de-sac (2)
When there are a few cars in the cul-de-sac the amount of area that can be plowed is reduced.

pw multiple cars in cul-de-sac (2)
Multiple cars parked in a cul-de-sac leave no room for the snow plow to maneuver and limit where the snow can be pushed.