Street & Sidewalk Improvements

Street Cleaning and Repairs

The Streets Division cleans all City streets on a year-round schedule, performs ongoing street maintenance duties including Winter snow and ice control, and responds to citizen reports of street repair needs. All street maintenance schedules are designed to provide an equal level of service to each of Madison’s neighborhoods, covering over 650 miles of City streets.

Street Cleaning. The Streets Division cleans all City streets on a rotating basis throughout the year. Each street is cleaned with a street sweeper approximately every 21 days. To accommodate spring-time clean-up needs, the Streets Division operates two daily street cleaning shifts in the early Spring. The Spring street cleaning schedule is coordinated with leaf and yard waste collection schedules to ensure that all debris is removed from City streets.

Street Repairs. The Streets Division is responsible for basic maintenance of City streets, including filling pot holes, sealing cracks, and seal-coating unimproved streets (streets without curbs and gutters). All City streets are checked for pot holes and other repair needs. Ongoing maintenance schedules are established to provide an equal level of service to all City neighborhoods. To report street repair needs in your neighborhood, contact the Streets Division at 246-4532 (East) or 266-4681 (West). 

Snow and Ice Control. The Streets Division is responsible for snow and ice control on all City streets through coordination between several City agencies and private contractors.

Snow plowing. The Streets Division attempts to keep major streets clear of snow while storms are in progress, but residential streets are plowed only when on-street accumulation from a single storm exceeds three inches. When this happens, the Streets Division mobilizes all of its plowing equipment as well as equipment from other City agencies and private contractors to remove snow from all City streets.

Road Salt Use. To protect our lakes and streams from stormwater run-off, the City of Madison tries to minimize the amount of salt used on our streets. Salt is used to control snow and ice only on designated salt routes, including major traffic arteries, bus routes, and streets adjacent to schools and hospitals. A mixture of sand and salt is applied to curves, hills, and intersections on all other streets.

Alternate Side Parking Ordinance. To facilitate snow removal, overnight on-street parking is restricted in the City of Madison from November 15 to March 15 by the Alternate Side Parking Ordinance. In most areas of the City, this ordinance requires that cars be parked on odd-numbered street sides on odd-numbered days and even-numbered street sides on even-numbered days from 1-7 a.m., seven days a week, regardless of weather conditions. This ordinance does not apply in the Downtown/Isthmus Snow Emergency Zone, in which alternate side parking rules are in effect only during a declared Snow Emergency.

Snow Emergency Zone. The Snow Emergency Zone is bounded by Thornton Avenue to the north, Park/Proudfit/Regent Streets to the south, Lake Mendota to the west, and Lake Monona to the east. Alternate side parking rules do not apply in the Emergency Zone unless a snow emergency is declared. A snow emergency is declared whenever street plowing is necessary –  generally when snow accumulation from a single storm is greater than three inches. In the event of a snow fall, monitor local media or call 261-9111 to find out if a snow emergency has been declared.

How To Get Started:

  v  Determine street cleaning/repair request. Determine your neighborhood’s street cleaning/repair improvement goals.

  v  Contact the Streets Division to discuss street cleaning/repair schedule. Streets Division staff can explain the City’s ongoing street cleaning and repair schedule and provide information on street cleaning and repairs in your neighborhood.

  v Contact your district Alderperson. Contact your district Alderperson to explain your street cleaning/repair goals. Your Alderperson can work through various channels to advocate for these goals.


George Dreckmann, Streets Division 267-2626 


East: 4602 Sycamore Avenue

                        Madison, WI 53704

                        Phone: 246-4532

                        Fax: 246-5804



West:   1501 W. Badger Road

                        Madison, WI 53713

                        Phone: 266-4681 

                        Fax: 267-1120


Sidewalk Repairs and Improvements

Sidewalk repairs and improvements in the City of Madison are accomplished through cooperative efforts between the Engineering Division and abutting property owners. Although state statutes require abutting property owners to pay the entire cost of sidewalk improvements, the City of Madison shares costs with property owners through a 50-50 sidewalk cost-sharing policy.

Madison’s Ten-Year Sidewalk Improvement Plan. In 1996 the Common Council passed a sidewalk improvement plan to complete comprehensive sidewalk repairs in all City neighborhoods by 2006. The ten-year improvement plan, administered by the Engineering Division, covers repairs of cracks; water-holding dips and other drainage problems; offsets caused by ground shifting or tree roots; and surface defects caused by erosion, impacts, and salt. Through the ten-year plan, the Engineering Division will focus on one section of the City at a time, prioritizing geographic areas by relative need for sidewalk repairs and relative level of sidewalk use. The Engineering Division will issue letters to property owners in focus areas asking them to repair abutting sidewalks by a specified date. In the event that property owners fail to comply, the City will repair sidewalks and assess costs to property owners according to the City’s 50-50 sidewalk cost-sharing policy.

Madison’s 50-50 Sidewalk Cost-Sharing Policy. Through the City of Madison’s sidewalk cost-sharing policy, 50 percent of sidewalk repair and improvement costs are borne by abutting property owners and the remaining 50 percent by the City when the City does the repair work. Property owners who wish to repair sidewalks on their own are eligible for a “rebate” of $2 per square foot, but must apply in advance and must have repair work performed by a contractor licensed by the City to do work in the public Right-of-Way.

Sidewalk Repair Requests. In addition to improvement work related to the ten-year sidewalk improvement plan, the Engineering Division responds to sidewalk repair requests. Staff respond to requests on a first-come, first-serve basis. The City’s 50-50 sidewalk cost-sharing policy applies.

Sidewalk Access Ramps for Persons with Disabilities. The Engineering Division is in the process of installing sidewalk access ramps throughout the City in conjunction with its ongoing street resurfacing schedule and its ten-year sidewalk improvement plan. In addition, the Engineering Division responds to requests for sidewalk access ramps that are prioritized by relative level of sidewalk use.

Sidewalk Requests from Areas Without Sidewalks. Some City areas do not have sidewalks due to circumstances at the time of development. Installation of sidewalks in these areas requires a Common Council order or a petition signed by at least 50 percent of the abutting property owners. To discuss the possibility of a Common Council order, contact your Alderperson. To discuss the possibility of a petition, contact the Engineering Division. In either case, first-time sidewalk installation costs are fully assessed to abutting property owners.

How To Get Started:

  v  Determine sidewalk repair/improvement goals. Determine your neighborhood’s sidewalk repair/improvement goals. You may wish to survey neighborhood residents to determine whether or not they are interested in initiating and sharing the costs of sidewalk improvements.

  v  Contact the Engineering Division to discuss sidewalk repair/improvement schedule. Engineering Division staff can explain the City’s ten-year sidewalk improvement plan, provide information on sidewalk repairs and improvements in your neighborhood, and describe ways for neighborhood residents to initiate sidewalk improvements.

  v Contact your district Alderperson. Contact your district Alderperson to explain your sidewalk improvement goals. Your Alderperson can work through various channels to advocate for these goals.


Skip Hanson, Engineering Division

1602 Emil Street

Madison, WI 53713

Phone: 266-4537     Fax: 267-1123




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