The Clean Streets/Clean Lakes street maintenance program prohibits parking during a posted four-hour block of time. The four hour block of time allows important maintenance work, like street sweeping or snow plowing, to happen. A version of this program has been in place for many Madison neighborhoods since 2003.
Starting in 2019, most Clean Streets/Clean Lakes (CSCL) areas are now enforced year-round. Areas with year-round CSCL are also part of the Snow Emergency Zone.
There is a small CSCL area south of Wingra Creek that has seasonal enforcement. In the seasonal CSCL area, the date range when the restrictions are enforced is posted on the signs.
The day of the week and time of the four-hour restriction varies by neighborhood and street. Look at the posted street signs to learn the restrictions for each block.
Example of a year-round CSCL sign.
how does the CSCL parking restriction make for cleaner lakes?
Road debris contains salt, sand, and other harmful substances that leak from cars. The debris accumulates in our street gutters, which often lead directly to our lakes. Cars parked on the street prevent street sweepers from collecting what is lying in the gutter. Moving the cars means the debris can be picked up efficiently and kept from our waterways.
Also, when it rains on leaves in the street, a nutrient-rich "leaf tea" run off is created. This flows into our waterways via the stormwater system where the runoff contributes to the toxic algae blooms, murky waters, and low-oxygen levels in our lakes.
Street sweepers can better collect the leaves that have fallen into the road and accumulate along the curb when vehicles are not in the way.
Street sweeper working in a CSCL day.
how does this restriction help in the winter?
As snow piles up along the curb, parked cars begin to creep away from the road edge and into the travel lanes, making for narrow streets and blocked bike lanes.
The simplest way to prevent the parking creep is to push the snow all the way out of the road to the terrace. However, parked cars prevent this work.
The year-round CSCL gives plows an opportunity to keep streets wide and safe for all roadway users, including emergency vehicles and refuse & recycling collection.
The four-hour parking rule may also help prevent snow emergency declarations. Snow Emergencies are declared when streets are too narrow due to accumulated snow. If streets can be kept wide throughout the winter, fewer emergencies may be necessary.
Wide winter streets also mean that the Streets Division would not need to initiate the slow, cumbersome, and confusing “post and tow” process where streets have parking temporarily prohibited for an entire day, cars are towed, and Streets crews scoop and haul snow away to make the streets safe again.
does this parking restriction help other services?
Parked vehicles complicate and slow many maintenance services.
- Tree maintenance, like planting, pruning, and stump removal.
- Brush collection.
- Leaf / yard waste collection.
- Recycling & refuse collection.
The above services are not guaranteed to occur during the posted parking restrictions due to a variety of reasons.
However, on days where these services can coincide with posted parking restrictions, the work can be more efficient and more complete.
Leaf / yard waste collection in a CSCL area during posted parking restrictions.
What about alternate side parking?
The most common question about CSCL is how it works with alternate side parking rules.
Alternate side parking rules are only enforced from 1:00am to 7:00am. This time frame does not overlap with posted CSCL parking times.
Both the CSCL and alternate side parking restrictions must be followed when applicable.
For questions about enforcing the CSCL street maintenance rule, alternate side parking rules, all other parking rules, and for questions about parking tickets, contact the Madison Police Department's Parking Enforcement Office.
- Phone: 608-266-4622
- Email: MPD Contact Form
For questions about the street maintenance services provided during the CSCL parking window, contact the Streets Division.