Snow Removal FAQs

Q: Will the City issue a warning before they issue a ticket for failure to remove snow?

A: No, since snow is considered a safety issue, warnings are not issued. On occasion, the City has delayed enforcement after large snow events. It is still in your best interest to remove the snow as soon as possible. Delaying removal only makes it more difficult.

Q: How much of my sidewalk do I have to clear?

A: The property owner is required to clear the entire width of the sidewalk, from edge to edge.

Q: Can I place the snow from my sidewalk into the street?

A: No, pile snow into your yard and terrace. It is against law to put snow into the street.

Q: If I own a corner lot, do I have to clear the curb ramp, the portion of the sidewalk leading to the street?

A: Yes, the Ordinance requires the removal of snow and ice from the curb ramp regardless where the snow and ice came from. If you cleared the curb ramp and snow was pushed back onto the curb ramp, you will be given a warning by way of a door card to clear the curb ramp by the next day. Failure to do so will result in the issuance of a ticket.

Q: I removed the snow but my sidewalk is covered with ice. What should I do?

A: Free sand is provided at numerous locations across the City. Generously apply sand to the ice-covered sidewalk to eliminate the hazard. Applying salt to the sidewalk may accelerate the removal of the ice. Keep the sidewalk sanded until the ice is gone.

Q: What if I am unable to clear the snow from my sidewalk or driveway because of my age/disability?

A: Please call the Building Inspection Division at 266-4551 and ask to speak to a Property Maintenance Inspector. The Inspector can try to pair you up with an agency, which can provide assistance and place your address on the 72-hour extension list.

Q: Do I have to clear my driveway or private sidewalks?

A: Madison General Ordinance Section 10.28 only pertains to public sidewalks. However, Madison General Ordinance 27.05(2)(d) requires private walks, driveways and parking areas to be maintained in a safe condition. Snow-covered and slippery private walks, driveways and parking areas may result in the issuance of an Official Notice directing the owner to clear the affected area by a specific due date. The Postal Service may refuse to deliver your mail if your private sidewalk is snow-covered or slippery.

Q: What is the schedule for clearing of priority crosswalks and wheelchair ramps?

A: Crosswalk snow removal is begun with the Isthmus Pedestrian Corridor being taken care of first along with the School/Handicap crosswalk list. 8 crews, citywide, are assigned for 3 consecutive nights to begin crosswalk snow removal. Crosswalk snow removal continues throughout the normal workday as well. Crosswalk snow removal continues until the entire City has been checked. (This process takes 3-4 weeks to complete.) City owned sidewalks and the School/Handicap Crosswalk lists are maintained during regular business hours during a storm.

Q: When are bus stops and city owned sidewalks cleared?

A: Snow removal from bus stops and City owned sidewalks are done when necessary. City crews will clear City sidewalks and bus stops with concrete pads as part of general plowing operations. Snow removal from other Madison Metro Bus stops begins when the priority routes are complete.

Q: What can I do about snow plows that block my driveway with snow?

A: This is an unfortunate side effect of plowing all streets in the City. All snow must be plowed to the curb and as a result driveways get blocked with the wet, heavy snow from the plow. It is the property owner's responsibility to clear the snow from the bottom of the driveway.

Q: What do I do if I'm not going to be home for an extended period of time and there is a snowfall?

A: If the homeowner is not at home or otherwise unable to clear snow, he/she must get someone to shovel their sidewalk.

Q: What does the City of Madison do about snow & ice during the winter?

A: Here are the City of Madison Procedures for Snow & Ice Control.

Q: What are the City of Madison snow plowing priorities?

A:Read the City of Madison Snow Plowing Priorities.