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November 14, 2018

10/17/2018 4:46:00 PM
Flurry of Changes in Snow Routes, Snow Emergency
By Mary Helt Gavin

City Council on Oct. 8 adopted changes that will affect winter parking if there is an accumulation of 4 inches of snow. The changes involve the definition of a “snow emergency” and some modifications in the City’s snow routes – those streets that form the main arteries of commercial and residential traffic.

‘Snow Emergency’

For years, the City declared a “snow emergency” at 8 a.m. after four inches of snow had fallen within a 24-hour period. Now there is, well, a cumulative effect on snow accumulation – for example, if two inches of snow fell while there were still two inches of snow on the ground from a snowfall a few days before, that second snow accumulation would trigger a snow emergency.

A Sept. 7 memo from Public Works Agency Director Dave Stoneback and Public Services Bureau Chief Edgar Cano said this expanded definition of snow emergency would assist in ice and snow operations if a series of storms more than a day apart hit the area with a total accumulation of more than four inches of snow.

The memo states in part, “For instance, if a winter storm occurring on Monday were to bring three inches of snow, along with cold temperatures, followed by a storm on Wednesday bringing another three inches of snow while [the area was] still experiencing low temperatures, you could potentially have six inches of snow in parking lanes with little-to-no melting. The same is true if we experience four or more consecutive days of snowfall of around one inch per day. This snow could then compact and turn to ice.

In scenarios such as that, the memo said, removing the ice and snow would be more difficult and likely involve the added expenses of overtime work, more ticketing and towing and increased salt usage.

Snow Routes

The City has revised snow routes by adding new ones, clarifying the ending and starting points of existing ones and modifying the snow route schedule to match what it posted on the signs displayed around town.

Clarifying ending and beginning: The memo gave Sheridan Road as an example of the need to clarify the beginning and ending points of a snow route. Sheridan Road is listed as a snow route, but the section from Forest Place to Greenwood Street is not a snow route. Labeling the beginning and ending points of a snow route should eliminate the confusion, the memo said.

Aligning snow routes with posted signs: In some cases, signs posted to alert parkers of a snow route are at odds with what the City has in fact designated as a snow route. As an example, signs posted along Dempster Street show the snow route from the west City limit to the alley east of Chicago Avenue, but the map indicates the route extends east to Forest Avenue. The change in the route aligns the route to the map and the posted signs. 

Adding Streets to Snow Routes: The City added the following streets and street segments to the snow route map and the City Code. In some cases, the City updated the map, in some cases, the signs:

• Greenleaf Street West from its intersection with Dodge Avenue to its intersection with Pitner Avenue

• Harrison Street West from its intersection with Crawford Avenue to its intersection with Greeley Avenue

• Lincoln Street West from its intersection with Green Bay Road to its intersection with Hartrey Avenue

• Pitner Avenue South from its intersection with Greenleaf Street to its intersection with Main Street

Removing Streets from Snow Routes: Signs posted on certain sections of Foster Street, Keeney Street and South Boulevard indicated they are residential, but the City still had them posted on the map and in the City Code as snow routes. Railroad Avenue between Davis and Church streets was eliminated with the development at 909 Davis St. The City removed them from the Code and the map.

• Foster Street East from its intersection with Ridge Avenue to its intersection with Sherman Avenue

• Keeney Street West from its intersection with Sheridan Road to its intersection with Michigan Avenue

• South Boulevard East from its intersection with Chicago to its intersection with Sheridan Road

Snow Route Posting Modifications

The City says the “majority of the posted signs along the snow routes reflect the information in the proposed revisions,” but some changes still need to be made. The City will remove the signs on Greenleaf Street from Dodge Avenue east to Sherman Avenue.

The City will post snow-route signs in the following areas: 

• Benson Avenue: from Emerson Street south to Elgin Road

• Green Bay Road: north of McCormick Boulevard Avenue, west side of street next to Kingsley School

• Elmwood Avenue: from Davis Street south to Grove Street

• Maple Avenue: from Emerson Street south to University Place

• Ridge Avenue: Change current snow emergency signs from Central Street south to

• Colfax Street to snow route signs, only on west side of street

• Orrington Avenue: Add one sign on east side of street south of Church Street

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