Snow Removal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Posted: January 3, 2022 in Reminders & Notices, Street Department News

Snow Plow

Decorah, IA (December 30, 2021) – With another winter season well underway, the City has received several questions regarding recent changes to the City’s snow removal code as well as requests for clarification of on-street parking requirements during a snow emergency. In an effort to help with these issues, the City has developed a list of snow removal frequently asked questions (FAQs).

  1. What are the recent updates to the City’s snow removal Code?

Recently, City Council approved several updates to the City’s Snow Removal Code. The primary points of emphasis were as follows:

  • Property owners shall not deposit any snow on to City streets, alleys, or parking lots, unless approval is received from the City. In other words, DO NOT push or blow snow from driveways or sidewalks into the street, alley, or parking lot.
  • Property owners must remove snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours following a snow event.
  • Property owners shall not place snow from their property on to another property or the right-of-way/boulevard of another property without approval from the appropriate property owner.
  • If City snow removal operations damage a mailbox, property owners must submit a Mailbox Claim Form for reimbursement. The City is not responsible for damage to other items in the boulevard (fences, plantings, etc.).
  1. When does a snow emergency take place?

A snow emergency is in effect whenever the City experiences a snowfall which accumulates a depth of one inch or more. The City makes every effort to issue a press release to notify residents when a snow emergency is in place, however, residents should be aware that a snow emergency is automatically in place whenever 1” or more of snow is received.

  1. What are the requirements for on-street parking during a snow emergency?

The City’s snow emergency parking policy requires that on even-numbered calendar days, all vehicles shall be parked on the side of the street where buildings have even numbers. On odd-numbered calendar days, all vehicles shall be parked on the side of the street where buildings have odd numbers. Residents are also reminded that when a snow emergency is not in place, any vehicles parked on the street need to be moved every 48 hours. 

  1. What time should a vehicle be moved to meet the odd and even side requirements?

This is a difficult question as the timing of snowfall is always hard to predict. That said, all residents should move their vehicles to the other side of the street sometime between 8 PM and 12 midnight. For example, if a snow emergency is in place on December 30th, all vehicles shall be parked on the even side of the street. After 8 PM on December 30th, vehicles can move over to the odd side of the street in anticipation of the odd side parking requirement for December 31st.

  1. What about for streets that are posted as one-sided parking only?

For City streets that have signs prohibiting parking on one side, the snow emergency parking restrictions supersede the one-sided parking. In other words, if a street normally does not allow parking on the odd side, vehicles are allowed to park on the odd side during a snow emergency. Once the snow emergency is no longer in effect, the normal one-sided parking restrictions are in place.

  1. What are the options for on-street parking in the downtown district?

It is very important for residents living in the downtown district to follow parking restrictions. Even when there is not a snow emergency in place, current parking restrictions do not allow overnight parking in most of the downtown district. Areas available for overnight parking include the 48-hour parking lot at the intersection of Heivly Street and Claiborne Drive, along the south side of Heivly Street, and along various side streets.

  1. When will cars and trucks start getting towed if they haven’t moved?

The City is working to educate residents on the changes to the snow emergency parking restrictions. The Police Department has started issuing warnings on vehicles that are not parked correctly. Per City Code, any vehicle that is not parked correctly or determined to be an interference with snow removal operations could be towed.

  1. How can you tell if a street is odd or even if there are no house numbers on the block?

This is uncommon, but there are a few streets around town that do not have the houses facing the right direction to have any house numbers on the block. For these blocks, the north and east sides should be considered even, and the south and west sides should be considered odd.

We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to provide updates on changes to the snow removal policies. As always, please contact the Street Department at 382-2157 with any additional questions.