During busy snow year, city of Steamboat’s snow removal fleet asks for patience, cooperation | SteamboatToday.com

During busy snow year, city of Steamboat’s snow removal fleet asks for patience, cooperation

A city snowplow clears heavy snow off of Aspen Wood Lane on Oct. 4. Since that storm, the city's snow removal fleet has deployed about 40 times.

Winter parking restrictions

Lincoln Avenue: 3 to 6 a.m.

Ski Time Square: 3 to 6 a.m.

Anglers Drive area and south of city limits: midnight to 8 a.m.

All other areas: 2 to 8 a.m.

*Vehicles may be ticketed or towed when they are parked during restricted hours

What am I responsible for?

  • Downtown property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks and any pedestrian crossings in front of their property.

  • All snow on private property needs to be stored on that property or put in a snow storage area located in the first five feet outside the edge of the asphalt or curb and gutter.

Which roads get plowed first?

Streets are prioritized based on traffic volume. Central Park Drive, for example, will be plowed before side streets in places like Old Town.

What if I might leave my car downtown after a night of drinking?

The city has a free parking lot on 10th Street that can accommodate overnight parking.

How do I know if my street is the city’s plowing responsibility?

Streets with blue signs are maintained by the city, while brown signs indicate a privately maintained road.

— Ever since a powerful snowstorm hit Steamboat Springs late in the fall and brought down with it hundreds of truckloads worth of tree branches, the city’s snow removal fleet hasn’t had very much time to catch its breath.

Ron Berig, the city’s street and fleet superintendent, said Monday the city’s entire snow removal fleet has been deployed 40 times already since Oct. 4.

"We’ve had a pretty crazy start to the season," he said in his office, which has a good view of the massive pile of snow that is being fed with snow that was removed from places like Ski Time Square. "We’ll typically spend an easy 8,000 hours a winter doing this. We’ll put down around 2,000 tons of scoria, and we’ll remove somewhere upwards of 52,000 cubic yards of snow."

But with all of these impressive snow removal stats comes another statistic that isn’t as good for the city.

Berig said in 2013, Steamboat had to issue 1,131 warnings and hand out 181 tickets to people who were parked somewhere illegally during snow removal hours.

He said his department is seeking some patience and cooperation from the community, especially during a busy snow year like this.

The city’s friendly reminders include obeying the no parking restrictions on streets during snow removal hours and keeping the right-of-ways in front of homes and residences clear of vehicles and other objects.

He said some residents’ recent habit of using snowblowers to create pocket parking spaces in their front yards has created a new "dangerous situation" for local plows.

On rare occasions, he said the city’s plows and snowblowers have hit vehicles that become hidden after heavy snowfall.

"It’s not so bad in the daytime, but at night, the plow drivers are out there. It’s snowing hard, and the car is covered in snow sitting just a couple feet off the road," Berig said. "The last thing we want to do is hit a parked car. But it’s easy to do, and it happens every year."

Berig said the rule of thumb is to leave 15 feet from the start of the pavement on the street clear of any objects.

The city’s snow removal fleet operates on three shifts during all hours of the day.

They are responsible for maintaining 76 miles of streets, 6 miles of alleyways, 37 parking lots and 105 cul-de-sacs. But that does not include residential driveways, sidewalks and mailboxes.

Berig said another situation the fleet wants to eliminate is seeing residents blow or push snow back into the street from their property.

Traffic can quickly harden that snow, and when a plow strikes it, it can be troublesome enough to send the vehicle into a dangerous spin.

"We just want people to be good neighbors," Berig said.

How quickly will your street be plowed?

Berig said it really depends on the timing of the storm.

When plows take off in the morning, their first primary focus is to clear "collector" roads that service the hospital, schools, the Steamboat Ski Area and all of the main bus routes.

Then, the teams move into the residential areas.

In a smaller storm, the residential roads could get plowed multiple times. In a bigger one, the focus remains on the bigger collector roads.

"We always just ask for a little patience," he said. "We’ll get there eventually. We’ll get your streets plowed."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10