How the city prioritizes which streets to plow first
When it snows, we all want our streets and driveways cleared as quickly as possible, so we can get on with daily life. But sometimes – especially after a large snow event – that may mean waiting for the plow.
The City Council has adopted a snow plowing and ice control policy that outlines the city's process for efficient and timely snow removal. The policy emphasizes safety by prioritizing emergency response and focusing on the most critical time periods (weekday morning and evening commutes.)
Here's how the city prioritizes its streets, parking lots and trails:
- Emergency routes. Ensuring emergency fire, police and medical services can travel freely through the city during a storm event is the city's main priority. This means plowing main arterial roads and collector streets as they have the highest traffic volumes and connect major sections of the city. Examples: 10th Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Vierling Drive, Southbridge Parkway, Eagle Creek Boulevard.
- Access to schools and commercial property. The second priority are streets that provide access to the city's commercial centers and schools. This is critical for helping people get to school and work as quickly as possible following a snow event. Examples: Shenandoah Drive, downtown Shakopee, Old Carriage Court, Valley Industrial Boulevard N., Valley Industrial Boulevard S.
- Lower volume residential streets. Once plows have cleared the busiest city streets, they focus on ensuring the less-traveled residential streets are cleared. This would include most of the residential areas throughout the city.
- Cul-de-sacs, alleys, sidewalks and trails. Due to size, Public Works typically uses smaller equipment to clear cul-de-sacs, alleys, sidewalks and trails. Each fall, the City Council adopts a sidewalk and trails map outlining which sidewalks and trails it will plow during the upcoming season. Priority is given to walking paths along main arterial streets and school walking zones.
- Snow hauling. Some areas of the city do not have enough right-of-way to store snow that accumulates from the plowing process. This can create sight line and safety issues. Thus, Public Works crews typically spend the nights and days following a large storm hauling snow to open city land for storage. Example: Downtown Shakopee
#AsktheCity: Does Shakopee have a bare pavement policy?
While some agencies have adopted bare pavement policies, the City Council has chosen to focus on efficient and cost-effective delivery service over dry pavement. This means timing plow efforts appropriately to get the best results rather than continuous plowing during a snowfall. Adopting a bare pavement policy would inevitably result in an increase in tax dollars and resources, such as plow drivers, equipment, fuel and de-icing chemicals.
Who plows my street?
Not all streets in Shakopee are plowed by the city Public Works Department. Scott County maintains county state aid highways, including Marschall Road, 17th Avenue, Canterbury Road, County Highway 21 and more. The Minnesota Department of Transportation maintains Highway 169 and its on/off ramps. Neighborhood associations clear private streets, alleys and sidewalks.
Parking lot plowing
The city uses a similar priority list for public parking lots:
- Emergency facilities: Police Department, Fire Department
- Commercial areas: Downtown public lots, Community Center