Recent snow reminds residents of city’s shoveling rulesWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
David Pratt and his Toledo streets crew have an important job during snow and ice storms: Make sure the roadways are cleared and salted.
This winter the job has been easier than most, but whenever people ask him what they think this winter is going to be like, he replies, “Ask me in April.”
That is because Pratt never rules out snow in March. He has been in this line of service for 20 years and is familiar with the seasons – and their unpredictability.
This year’s snowfall has barely tipped 13 inches (November through Feb. 15), while last year there was nearly 45 inches (November through Feb. 28). The latest snowfall on Valentine’s Day only caused a few delays and closures, but it served as a reminder of what Toledo residents are required to do when it snows.
- Clear the walkways within 24 hours. This includes those at single residential, commercial or industry property, in addition to those who own multiple residential, commercial or industrial property – occupied or not. A violation could lead to a minor misdemeanor.
- When the temperature is at or below freezing, the owner, manager or operator of a car wash needs to salt the neighboring street to prevent freezing water.
- People who operate or maintain any public, commercial or private parking lots need to keep the surrounding sidewalks safe for pedestrians. Also, snow that is removed should not be placed in a public right-of-way.
Pratt said city streets are cleared using a series of routes, which are divided into four phases. The first phase covers streets with traffic counts greater than 7,500 vehicles per day, including the downtown TARTA bus loop. The second phase is streets with more than 2,500 vehicles but fewer than 7,500 vehicles, including TARTA bus routes. Third is feeder streets to main routes, and the fourth phase is residential routes.
“Obviously, we aren’t out of the season,” Pratt said. “In February last year, we got dumped on and that could happen again.
If this does happen, Toledo has more than 67 plow trucks and 80 drivers. The city uses an average of 33,000 tons of salt for an average of 37 inches of snow each winter. This may or may not happen this year.
“We are used to having snow and people like going out and playing in it, but we can have weather like this and then have 6 feet of snow,” he said.
Snowfall for this season:
November 2011: 1.4 inches
December 2011: 3.3 inches
January 2012: 6.7 inches
February 2012: 1.7 inches
Total: 13.1 inches
Snowfall for last season:
November 2010: None
December 2010: 6 inches
January 2011: 13.7 inches
February 2011: 25.3 inches
March 2011: 4.7 inches
April 2011: None
Total: 49.7 inches