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Posted on: December 14, 2018

City Reminds Residents of Winter Storm Operations Information

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After getting off to an earlier than usual snow storm season, the City would like to remind residents of winter storm operations information as we head into the new year. The Department of Public Works is ready for the winter storm season, in which they care for more than 560 lane miles of road, and the City’s Parks & Facilities Department cares for more than 100 miles of sidewalks during and following snow storms. 

Of note this year are changes that were made to the City’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance in terms of fines and length of time for removal. Business owners still have 12 hours following a winter storm to remove snow and ice from sidewalks abutting their property, but residential owners now have 18 hours to clear snow and ice abutting their property following the end of a storm or when the City finishes snow removal operations, whichever is later. Residential owners used to have 24 hours. 

Business owners who fail to remove snow and ice within these time frames risk facing a $250 fine for the first offense, $500 for the second offense within the same winter season and $1,000 for any subsequent offense within the same winter season. Additionally, should the city have to remove the snow and ice or arrange for its removal, the property owner will be charged for the cost of removal plus a 10% charge for administration. 

Residential owners can be fined $75 for the first offense, $125 for the second offense in the same winter season and $250 for any subsequent offense in the same winter season. Like business owners, should the city have to remove the snow and ice or arrange for its removal, the property owner will be charged for the cost of removal plus a 10% charge for administration. 

WINTER STORM REMINDERS

During the winter months, the Public Works Dispatch office is open 24-hours a day, reachable at 207-874-8493, and crews are assigned to shifts to respond 24/7 to weather events. Major arterial roadways, hills and intersections are often treated before plowing operations begin, usually when 2” of snow falls. Plow teams concentrate first on major roadways and connectors to move traffic along before heading into residential areas. 

The City’s residential sand and salt pile will be located at the Little League parking lot at Payson Park. This sand and salt pile is for residential use only, contractors are not allowed. Residents can take two 5-gallon pails at a time. 

ALERTS & PARKING BAN NOTIFICATIONS

  • Residents and visitors can view alerts on the City’s website at www.portlandmaine.gov or sign up to receive email, text, and phone notices via the Stay Connected feature when parking bans are declared. The City can call a city-wide parking ban, a peninsula ban which covers the entire peninsula, or a yellow zone ban, which covers the downtown district.

  • People can also get parking ban updates by following City news on Twitter or Facebook. Motorists can also call the parking ban hotline at 207-879-0300. 

CUSTOMER SERVICE HOTLINE

  • For customer service related to winter operations, please call 207-874-8493. This number is operational during winter months 24/7. For sidewalk plowing concerns, please call 207-874-8793. 

PARKING

  • All vehicles left on the street during a snow parking ban will be towed at the owner’s expense. Only cash, VISA, MasterCard, or Discover Card accepted. Sorry, no checks will be accepted. The snow impoundment lot can be reached at 207-774-3025.

  • Snow ban parking lot options can be found here. Reiche School parking lot on Clark Street is not available for snow ban parking. The pool at Reiche school hosts Therapeutic Recreation programs 7 days a week, and our many disabled or special-access customers need the parking lot to be free in order to participate in the programs. Illegal parking in the Reiche lot prevents these people from participating, and cars parked there during snow bans will be towed. 

  • Residents able to park off-street should do so in order to allow crews to remove snow from the streets and emergency vehicles to travel as safely and efficiently as possible. 

  • If parking your car on the street, please park as close to the snowbank/curb as possible. Often people park several feet away from the curb in order to allow passengers to move in and out of the car easily. Parking the car in this manner shortens the width of the street by several feet, making it difficult for Portland snowplows to clear the street safely and emergency vehicles to respond as quickly as possible to a fire or medical emergency. If the street is impassable for an emergency vehicle, the vehicle blocking the street will be towed.

SNOW REMOVAL

  • Encourage citizens to help their neighbors who are physically unable (elderly and disabled) to clear their sidewalks. Elderly and disabled residents who need help with removing snow from sidewalks should contact the City’s Elder Services Department at 207-541-6620.

  • A minimum of four feet is required to be clear of snow and treated for ice on all public sidewalks and sidewalk access ramps. Snow cannot be pushed or dumped from driveways and parking lots onto public access sidewalks and access ramps. 

  • To view a map of city sidewalks cleared by Public Works and Parks, Recreation & Facilities staff, see winter sidewalks. 

  • Members of the community are encouraged to help the Portland Fire Department by keeping their neighborhood fire hydrants clear of snow and ice. The City currently has 1460 public hydrants. Citizens are also encouraged to help Public Works by clearing catch basins and storm drains in front of their homes to help prevent water ponding on their streets and in their driveway openings. 

  • Citizens can also consider becoming a volunteer for the Adopt-A-Stop program, which uses volunteers to ensure that bus stops are kept clear.

Additional winter operations tips and reminders can be found here. 

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