The Public Works Department offers the following FAQ’s in preparation for the winter season. Timely response and effective execution in anticipation of variable weather conditions are essential for an efficient snow removal plan. Online weather data and Lake County Passage CCTV information are constantly monitored to determine the impact of storms including scheduling personnel and availability of equipment. This advance information assists the Department to prepare an effective plan for snow removal operations. The Public Works Department works closely with the Public Safety personnel to identify specific salting or plowing needs.
The City of Highland Park reminds residents that it is a violation to remove snow from one parcel of property and deposit it onto another, including the adjacent public parkway, without consent of the property owner. Some snow removal companies push snow from one property, across public streets, and onto the parkway on the opposite side of the street. Depositing snow in this manner can damage property, create a nuisance, and hamper sight lines from adjacent properties. The City code does provide an exemption to allow plow operators to deposit snow on the City parkway located immediately adjacent to and on the same side ofthe street as the property from which the snow is being removed.
Property owners should inform their snow removal companies of the Snow Removal Ordinance provisions. Snow plow operations observed improperly depositing snow in violation of the ordinance will be cited; however, residents are ultimately responsible for compliance and may also be cited. Please see the graphic below as a guide to properly remove snow from your driveway, and contact the City Manager’s office at 847.926.1000 for more information.
Snow Removal FAQ’s
When are specific streets plowed?
Under normal snowfall conditions, three-inch or less, all public streets are plowed within the first six hours. However, it is important to note that initial snow removal operations are staged simultaneously throughout the City and that multiple plowing passes along streets are required to move the snow to the curb. Response times can vary and may be extended depending on the magnitude, duration, and timing of winter storm. Regardless, snow removal operations will continue until all public streets are passable and all parking areas have been cleared.
How is the application of salt managed?
The initial salting effort concentrates on hills, intersections and inherently hazardous areas. Salt and salt-brine are applied to help break the bond of snow and ice from the street surface while expediting snow removal and also improving driving conditions.
Why do plows occasionally fill driveway approaches?
Plows need to make multiple passes to push snow back to the curbs. Plows initially traverse the center of each street so cars can travel in both directions. Upon completion of this task, the plow trucks return to push the snow back to the curbs. This helps melting snow to enter the storm sewers or other drainage systems. City has approximately 10,000 residential driveways and unfortunately, it is not possible for plow trucks to turn the snow blade away at each driveway. As the public street is plowed, snow does get deposited in driveway apron area, within City right of way.
When are public sidewalks plowed?
The City maintains approximately 120 miles of public sidewalk. For every snow event, City plows high pedestrian select sidewalk areas such as in and around train stations and schools, the Central and Ravinia Business Districts, parking garage entrances, and public facilities.
Upon accumulation of 4” or more of snow, City’s authorized contractor(s) plow all public sidewalks, approximately 110 miles. The sidewalk plowing typically starts 12 to 24 hours after the start of the snowfall and could take up to 24 to 48 hours or more to complete the entire plowing operation of public sidewalks.
As a reminder, for snow totals less than 4”, public sidewalks not plowed by City, it is the responsibility of the abutting property or business owners to clean the public sidewalks. Additionally, depositing snow onto sidewalks makes it difficult for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalk. The deposited snow on the sidewalk also hinders City and private sidewalk plow contractors (where applicable) to clear the walks in a timely and an effective manner.
How should drivers navigate the road when encountering a snow plow?
The large heavy snow plow trucks (City or State) are difficult to maneuver in less than optimal driving conditions. Moreover, the sizable plow reduces a driver’s visibility in snowy conditions. Plow trucks also generate slush obscuring visibility, thereby it is important to stay clear of snow removal equipment at all times.
What assistance can residents provide? Observe street parking restrictions and avoid parking on the street until after the road has been cleared after a significant snowfall event. If a contractor plows your driveway, ensure the snow is not pushed across the street onto a neighbor’s property. Additionally, the City prohibits removing snow or ice from any building, private property, driveway, driveway approach or public sidewalk and depositing it onto public streets. The deposited snow on public streets creates a traffic hazard for motorists, especially on streets that have been plowed once.
What if a snow plow damages my property or mailbox?
Snow plowing is performed under challenging weather and traffic conditions including reduced visibility. Occasionally, areas adjacent to a street can be damaged without the knowledge of the plow operator. Any hardscape or streetscape items within the right-of-way remains the homeowner’s responsibility. Lawns damaged inadvertently by a City plow truck, within City right of way, will be repaired the following spring, upon receiving notification by the homeowner.
If a mailbox was damaged by City plow equipment, please call Public Works at 847.432.0807 within 24 to 48 hours of damage. City will place a temporary mailbox and then either repair the damage or reimburse the resident up to $65 for the purchase and installation of a replacement mailbox.
Who should residents call?
During regular working hours, contact Public Works Department at 847.432.0807. During off-hours or emergencies, please call the Police non-emergency hotline at 847.432.7730. For all emergencies, please call 911.
For more information, please review the City's Snow and Ice Control Manual.