Colorado can receive a great deal of snow each year and residents can take some important steps to be prepared for a snow storm. If you can avoid travel during adverse weather conditions, please stay at home and avoid the stress of driving in poor weather conditions. Every car left at home reduces the number of potentially stranded vehicles, which can slow down plowing operations. When there are fewer vehicles operating on the roadways, streets can also be cleared more quickly. If you must travel during a storm, make sure your vehicle is equipped with snow tires with the proper tread levels and/or chains. Carry a shovel in your car in the event that you become stuck or slide off a roadway. Also equip your vehicle with blankets, clothing, food and other emergency supplies. Residents should make the appropriate preparations to ensure that they are able to travel to and from work and home, which could also include having a four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle available for emergencies.
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The Parker Public Works Department has a snow plowing priority system in place to clear our nearly 500 lane miles of streets. The plowing time required depends on several variables such as the snowstorm intensity, duration, wind and the temperature. The Town’s snow plowing priorities are as follows: Arterial roadways are our first priority and will be plowed first. These are the major roadways that carry the most traffic volume, such as Stroh Road, Hess Road, 20 Mile Road, Cottonwood Drive, Canterberry Parkway, Lincoln Avenue, Jordan Road, Pine Drive, Hilltop Road and Mainstreet. Collector streets are our second priority, including, but not limited to: Apache Plume Drive, Bradbury Parkway, Canterberry Trail, Clark Farms Drive, Heirloom Parkway, J. Morgan Parkway, Nate Drive, Omaha Avenue, Riva Ridge Road and Tallman Drive. These streets provide access to arterial roadways and will be cleared once the arterial roadways have been plowed. Local residential roads and cul-de-sacs that provide traffic flow within subdivisions and access to homes are not plowed unless six (6) inches or more snow has accumulated and snow continues to fall, or if major drifting has occurred.
Once a snow storm is imminent, the Town’s snow plowing crews switch to mandatory 12-hour shifts and begin preparing for the storm. Snow crews work 24/7 until the storm has ceased and snow operations are complete. The Town has 10 large snow plows/spreaders available throughout each storm unless maintenance is required. Depending on the severity of the storm, the Town may also deploy internal snow removal crews in pick-up trucks as necessary and as resources allow.
The Town generally follows the agreements signed among the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), so the use of sand or other abrasives have been virtually eliminated due to possible brown cloud impacts caused by particulates. The Town currently uses a salt based product called IceSlicer (or Redmond Salt) and liquid magnesium chloride, which help to keep snow packs loose and minimize ice bonding to pavements.
The top priority for snow operations are arterial streets. Once these main roadways are cleared, the second priority for snow clearing is collector streets. Snow crews will plow local residential roads only after six (6) or more inches of snow has accumulated and snow continues to fall. During larger snow storms (six inches or more of snow), Town trails will only be plowed after residential roads have been plowed.
Snowfall is measured with weather sensors utilizing a laser located at the intersections of Twenty-Mile Road/Pine Lane and Hilltop Road/Canterberry Parkway. The sensors accurately measure snow fall amounts.
To be able to service all neighborhood streets, typically only a single pass (15 to 18 feet wide) will be made on local streets. In addition to the amount of time and funding curb to curb plowing would take, plowing wider paths creates larger snow piles, which may end up blocking driveways and sidewalks. Once snow plows have made a pass down residential streets, individual homeowners will need to make efforts to get out to the cleared path, as well as clearing snow from curbs to allow for on-street parking.
To ensure the safety of our drivers and others on the roadway during plowing, operators cannot continuously change plowing direction. Plows must stay on their own side of the road during plowing operations.
Since snow plows must move at a speed great enough to get the snow off of their blade, they may inadvertently throw snow far enough to cover sidewalks. Unfortunately, the Town doesn't have the budget or manpower to go back and clear sidewalks or remove ice from roadways. To help with this issue, the Town recommends that homeowners avoid shoveling or blowing snow into the street. If your street is plowed after you shovel, some snow will get back on your driveway and we understand that this can be frustrating. You can help by shoveling snow from sidewalks or driveways into your yard, as any snow placed in the street will likely be pushed back into your driveway by a passing snow plow. In addition, snow placed in the gutter may cause icing issues.
There are no hydrant shoveling requirements within the Town of Parker. If residents would like to enhance hydrant visibility and make firefighter access a quicker process, they are certainly welcome to do so.
If the group mailbox fronts to a neighborhood sidewalk, the adjacent property owner or Homeowner’s Association (HOA) is responsible for shoveling the sidewalk in front of the group mailboxes, in a similar fashion to sidewalk clearing requirements. If the mailbox is not adjacent to a sidewalk, no shoveling requirements apply.
Bridges are especially vulnerable to icing over as they are subject to rapid cooling due to the lack of earthen insulation. Cold winds flowing over and under bridges remove stored heat quickly. The Town utilizes automated bridge sensors that notify staff of potential or actual icing conditions on select Parker bridges.
The Town is unable to fairly prioritize the individual concerns of more than 50,000 residents, but we will work to accommodate emergency 9-1-1 calls. The Parker Police Department also responds to emergencies throughout the storm.