A little patience and a cooperative attitude are essential ingredients for getting through the winter plowing season. When we as citizens, plowing contractors, and city crews work together, we can reduce frustrations that sometimes accompany winter snowstorms. There are many things residents can do to minimize plowing-related problems for themselves and to assure that city crews do the most effective job possible.
When the snow and ice come, just follow the "Top 10 Tips" for the winter plowing season:
- Observe Owatonna's winter parking regulations. Do not park your car on the restricted side of the street between November 15 to March 31 from 12:01 a.m. and noon or your vehicle will be ticketed and towed This not only ensures more effective plowing but also helps you avoid a citation or your vehicle being towed.
- Residents may find it less frustrating to wait until the plow trucks have completed their street before cleaning the end of their driveway. City plow units are designed to discharge snow to the sides of the road and are not capable of skipping driveway areas.
- Snow from the bottom of the driveway should be shoveled to the right as you're facing the street. This will reduce the amount of snow being placed back into the driveway during the next plowing.
- Residents hiring contractors to plow their driveways should remind the contractor about state and local laws that prohibit pushing or placing snow back into or across the street. Doing so not only creates hazards for drivers, but also makes it difficult for the city to keep the streets clean.
- Residents should clear snow from the mailbox area after each plowing. Snow that remains in front of mailboxes will get compacted by post office vehicles and make subsequent plowing less effective.
- If trash and/or recycling pickup day coincides with plowing activities, make sure your trash can and recycling bin are well behind the curb or in the driveway so the plow will not hit them.
- Residents who have experienced sod damage in the past may wish to mark their yard line with flexible stakes or lathe. This will help the plow operators avoid future damage.
- Do not allow children to build snow forts and tunnels in the snowbanks adjacent to the curb, or to play near the curbs. It can be difficult for the plow operators to see children. Be sure to keep sleds and toys away from the street.
- Homeowners should ensure their mailboxes are firmly attached to posts sturdy enough to withstand the snow that gets deflected from plows.
- Residents are encouraged to "adopt a fire hydrant" near their home and keep snow shoveled away from it. This will ensure that hydrants are accessible in case of an emergency.