Bookmark and Share

Snow and Ice Frequently Asked Questions

Why is snow pushed in front of my driveway and/or on my sidewalk?

Snow plows are designed to push snow to the side.  It is inevitable for snow to be deposited at the end of driveways and on sidewalks during plowing.  To minimize the impact, we recommend piling the snow to the right side of your driveway when facing the street.  The plows make four to six passes down a street to clear it curb to curb which may deposit additional snow after you have shoveled.  Our drivers plow at low speeds to minimize these issues, but this is an inevitable byproduct of plowing, and can be exacerbated by higher snowfall amounts and light fluffy snow. 

Why do some streets have less snow and ice when plowing is done?
There are a number of factors which impact how clear a street will be including; when during the operation it is plowed, the amount of traffic on the road before and after plowing, the pavement temperatures and type of pavement surface.  While we try to provide consistent service some residential streets will be clearer than others.  We assign Route Monitors during Operations to ensure all streets are safe and passable and arterial streets are cleared to bare pavement.

Why does't the City plow alleys?
Alleys are not public right-of-ways in the same sense that streets and sidewalks are, but are quasi rear driveways that provide access for off-street parking and other public utilities and services, such as garbage and recycling collection.  

Who do I contact if my neighbor did not clear their sidewalk?

414-286-CITY (2489) or you can put in a request online. Forestry Technicians will cite properties in violation and give the property owner time to remove the snow.  If it has not been removed in 72 hours a contractor will be sent to clear the sidewalk and the property owner will be charge for this cost.  However, we also encourage residents to help their neighbors when possible. 

What is the fee/fine for not clearing my sidewalk?

Properties in violation are assessed a special charge of $50.  Property owners who fail to clear the sidewalk within 24 hours after it has been cited, will be assessed additional special charges of $75 for the first violation, and $100 for a second violation and any violations thereafter, plus the cost of snow and ice removal if cleared by the City (City Ordinance 116-8).

What if I can't shovel my walk?

The City of Milwaukee has a snow hardship program for elderly or disabled property owners in single family homes.  The property owner would be charged for each snow removal occurrence. 

Why was my street plowed first last year and last this year?

To ensure fairness to neighborhoods, each year we switch which part of the route the plows start on for residential streets. 

There was a car parked on my street when the plow came through, will you come back to clear the snow to the curb?
Requests can be entered online or you can call  414-286-CITY (2489).  Once all residential streets are safe and passable we will address resident requests for additional snow removal.  We will try to clear islands left behind, but it can be difficult to maneuver the plows into a small space and arrive when vehicles are no longer parked at the curb.  Utilizing alternate side parking helps ensure we can clear the street to the curb efficiently.

Why did I see a truck driving in snow with it's blade up?
There are many reasons a truck may have been driving with it's blade up.  When driving to or from their route locations or maintenance facility they need to travel with their blade up or they would have to drive slower and wear out the plow blade when not on routes.  Our trucks may also be utilizing an underbody blade used for smaller snowfall amounts or distributing salt or other deicing materials.

What are the parking rules in Winter?

Winter Parking rules are located online.  Vehicles must be legally parked and in compliance with all posted signs.  During a DPW Operation utilize alternate side parking from 11pm-6am.  During snow emergencies parking is not allowed on highways and mass transit routes and utilitze alternate side parking from 11pm-6am.  

How do I find out if there is a DPW Operation or Snow Emergency?

Sign up for Winter Parking email or text message alerts at E-Notify or visit the Snow Operation Information Website.