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What to do During a Snow Emergency

By ordinance, the City Council declares a snow emergency when snow has accumulated to at least two inches. The snow emergency will be in effect until all snow has been cleared from city streets and parking lots. The City will notify several media sources and provide as much advance notice to the public as possible as to when a snow emergency will be declared.

During a snow emergency, all vehicles must be removed from city streets and public parking lots until snow plowing operations are complete.

To ensure that you do not receive a parking ticket, please move your vehicle prior to the start time of the snow emergency and keep your vehicle off city streets until they have been completely plowed. The objective is to finish plowing within 10 hours after cessation of snowfall.

To determine if a snow emergency has been declared, please do the following:

Where to Park During a Snow Emergency

When a snow emergency exists, all vehicles must be removed from city streets and public parking lots until snow plowing operations are complete. The best place to park during a snow emergency is in your garage or driveway. If you are unable to park in a driveway or garage, please park in one of the designated snow emergency parking stalls. These stalls are located in seven downtown municipal parking lots. 

  1. East Wall Street Lot at East Wall Street & North Parker Drive
  2. City Hall Lot at West Wall Street & North Jackson Street
  3. South High Street Lot at West Court Street & South High Street
  4. Senior Center Lot at St. Lawrence Avenue & Water Street
  5. Hedberg Library Lot Lot on Water Street
  6. River/Union Street Lot at South River Street & Union Street
  7. North Parker Drive Parking Ramp at North Parker Drive and East Wall Street

When you arrive at the lot, look for the signs designating the snow emergency parking stalls. Fines for parking on the streets during a snow emergency are $50. The Police Department may begin issuing tickets to violators before plowing operations begin.

Communication Services Available

The City of Janesville has designed several additional options for residents looking for information about snow emergencies.

All residents are encouraged to utilize these services to reduce the likelihood of receiving a parking ticket and to assist with making Janesville's snow removal operations cost effective and safe.

Snow Hotline (755-SNOW)

For current snow emergency information, please call the 24-Hour snow hotline, 755-SNOW. When a snow emergency is in effect, the recorded message will state the specifics of the declaration and provide reminders about parking regulations. During non-snow emergency times, the hotline will provide residents with general winter weather reminders.

Snow Emergency E-mail Alerts

If you would like to receive an e-mail from the City of Janesville when a snow emergency is declared, make sure to subscribe to the Snow Emergency Alert E-mail List. Whenever a snow emergency has been declared, city staff will send an e-mail providing the details and parking regulations that are associated with the snow event. To subscribe, click here and follow the directions provided to submit your e-mail address to the list.

Nixle Alerts

The City of Janesville Police Department maintains a Nixle account that broadcasts press releases and emergency alerts, including snow emergency announcements, via text message or email.  To sign up for the JPD Nixle alerts, visit the JPD webpage, visit, or text your zip code to 888777.  

Snow Season Reminders

Throughout the winter months, JATV will be airing winter weather and snow emergency reminders with their Calendar of Events. JATV will also include information about declared snow emergencies in their Calendar whenever possible.

Winter Weather Information Brochure Available 

An informative brochure is available that answers many of the common questions regarding snow emergencies and other winter weather subjects. If you would like a copy of the brochure it is available here, at the Operations Division Office, City Hall or by contacting the Operations Division.

Snow Emergency Magnets Available

Snow reminderThe Public Works Department has purchased magnets to remind residents of the City's parking regulations during a snow emergency. These magnets are free of charge and can be picked up at the City Hall lobby, the City Services Center or the Hedberg Public Library. To request a magnet, please call 755-3110.

Sidewalk Snow Removal Reminders
Keeping your sidewalk free of snow and ice is important for the safety and well being of pedestrians, particularly those with physical disabilities. As such, and in accordance with state statute, City Ordinance 12.08.080 requires property owners to keep sidewalks abutting their property free from snow and ice. This includes the crosswalk approach and the curb line within the crosswalk approach. The ordinance grants property owners twelve (12) hours after each winter weather event to clear the walk. If a property owner does not clear their sidewalk, state statute authorizes the City to clear the sidewalk and bill the property owner for all related expenses.

The City is no longer mailing notices of violations to property owners, and such notice is not required by state statute. Upon the first offense, City inspectors will first attempt personal contact and, at minimum, will place a door hanger informing the resident that they have 24 hours to correct the violation or the City will perform the work at the expense of the property owner. If the property does not have a structure on it, then no notice will be issued and the walk will be cleared at the expense of the property owner.  On subsequence offenses, City staff will not leave a door hanger and will perform the snow and ice removal of the property walkways after non-compliance of the ordinance has been verified.

To report a snow or ice covered sidewalk please call the City Services Center at 755-3110. Please have the property address available.

Other Winter Weather Reminders

Mailbox Damage

Occasionally, snow plowing can result in damage to mailboxes. A few things can be done to minimize the chance that your mailbox is damaged this winter season. First, make sure your mailbox is installed according to federal and state guidelines. The front of the mailbox must be 6 - 9 inches behind the curb and the bottom of the mailbox must be 42 - 48 inches from the ground. Second, ensure that the post of your mailbox is securely place in the ground and that it is free of rot, rust, or corrosion.

In the event your mailbox is damaged, the City will repair the damage or replace the mailbox according to federal guidelines. A standard mailbox design will be used for replacements, including replacement of decorative mailboxes. Property owners who install decorative mailboxes or materials in the public right-of-way do so at their own risk.

To receive replacement of or reimbursement for a mailbox damaged due to snow plowing operations, residents must report the damage within 30 days of damage to allow City crews to inspect and verify damages.  If damages are not verified by City staff, reimbursement or replacement will not be considered.  The City will not be responsible for damage to mailboxes which do not meet the installation criteria described above.

To report a damaged mailbox please call the City Services Center at 755-3110 or fill out an online Mailbox Damage Report.

Helpful Reminders

Certain roadway conditions and structures can present problems during and following snow plowing operations. Curves in the road can be hard to identify and snow may not get pushed back to the curb at these locations. Also, catch basins in the street can be difficult to locate and clear of snow following a plowing event. Residents can help by placing stakes or reflectors at such locations.

Plowing Snow into Public Streets

City ordinance prohibits depositing snow from a sidewalk, driveway or driveway approach onto a city street. The violation that most frequently occurs is when snow from a driveway or parking lot is pushed across the street from the parking lot entrance or driveway and piled on the opposite side of the street either on the terrace or in the street. Plowing snow from a parking lot or driveway into the street creates a safety hazard for motorists and City snow removal operators. Having to remove or maneuver around these large piles of snow also impacts the efficiency of snow removal operations. To report an incident of plowing into the street please call the City Services Center at 755-3110.

Parking During the Winter Season

To help improve the efficiency and response to winter weather please park your vehicle off city streets whenever possible. When a snow emergency is declared all vehicles must be removed from city streets. However, snow plowing and salting operations can occur during times when a snow emergency has not been declared. By removing your vehicle from the road you help snow plow operators gain better access to the entire street. Fewer obstructions, like parked vehicles, mean that snow plow operators can clear the streets quicker and more completely. Do your part to help improve winter weather responses by parking your vehicle off city streets during the winter season.

Winter Salting Operations

During the winter months you may see city crews chemically treating our streets and sidewalks that abut public property with salt. This is the City's primary method of managing ice and minor snow accumulations (less than two to three inches).

Reporting Problems

To report problems such as snow covered sidewalks or snow plow damage to mailboxes, terraces or other property, please call the City Services Center at 755-3110.

Tips to Help Your Neighborhood

Residents can help improve the safety of their neighborhood by shoveling the entire width of the sidewalk and by clearing large area around any nearby fire hydrants. This ensures that all residents have access to sidewalks and that the fire department can access hydrants quickly in case of an emergency in your neighborhood. Residents can also help by clearing packed snow and ice from the area around stormsewer inlets. This will help water from melting snow and ice get to the stormsewer and out of the street and gutter.

Don't Forget to Shovel Snow around Fire Hydrants

The Fire Department asks all residents to make sure they shovel a large area around any nearby fire hydrants. In case of a fire emergency, having the hydrants easily visible and clear saves time and allows the firefighters to begin their work more quickly. For questions, call the Fire Department at 755-3050.

Need more Information?

For questions or more information about any of these items or to report any problems or concerns please call the Operations Department at 755-3110 during office hours.

Last updated: 5/1/2015 10:48:19 AM