MinneSNOWta

Developing a snow removal plan
By Amanda Ruggeri

Don’t be surprised and unprepared when the snow begins to fall. Follow these tips to get your snow removal plan in place.  

CITY REGULATIONS

Rochester residents are responsible for snow and ice removal on all sidewalks bordering their property. The phrase to remember is, “When snow is here, you have 24 hours to clear.” The width of the sidewalk must be cleared and also any snow that may be blocking a handicapped ramp, fire hydrant or catch basin. Never shovel snow into the street. 

The Rochester City Council adopted new seasonal parking restrictions in September 2019. Megan Moeller, communications coordinator for the Public Works Department, says the biggest change is the implementation of alternate side parking regardless of weather and no parking in the circular part of cul-de-sacs at any time between October 1st and May 1st. Between 2 a.m. and 3 p.m., vehicles must be parked on the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered calendar dates and on the odd side on odd dates. This does not apply to metered spaces, but remember that posted parking signs must be obeyed regardless of the calendar date. Look for further communications from the City Council on these new rules. 

SNOW REMOVAL SERVICES

Snow removal services can be very convenient and cost-effective. Russell Riley, from CBS Lawn Care and Snow Removal Services provides contracts for clients that are tailored to their individual needs. Riley works with his clients to put together a plan for the snow season that can include not only plowing and snow blowing but regular sand and salt delivery, roof raking and even ice dam removal. Contracts take your schedule into account to ensure that you are able to get out of your driveway on time in the morning. 

Due to high demand for snow removal services in our area, Riley recommends looking around early for a company that’s taking new clients. Since all properties have different needs and snow removal can be arranged as either a one-off or on a contract basis, cost can vary considerably. Most local companies provide free estimates via their website or by phone. 

DIY SNOW REMOVAL

After you have used your snow blower for the last time at the end of the season, make sure to drain all the fuel out. Neglecting to do this can have a negative effect on the carburetor. This is also the best time to change the oil and filter. In the fall, check and possibly replace the spark plugs, paddles, scraper bars, cogged belt, rubber drive disk and control cable. Choosing a nice autumn day to give your snow blower a once-over may save you from fixing a problem in the middle of a blizzard. 

When you begin blowing snow, create a strip down the middle of your driveway, aiming the snow away from your home, but still on your property. With each pass, overlap slightly the last area you cleared, attempting to blow the snow to the outer edge of your yard. You should not need to use too much physical force to move your snow blower; let the machine work for you. Pushing too hard can not only put strain on your muscles but jam the blades with snow. If this happens, turn your engine off and wait at least five seconds before using a solid object (not your hand!) to remove the blockage. Remember that snow blowers are dangerous machines, and children should never be allowed near them.

RUSS RILEY’S SHOVELING TIPS
• Don’t wait to shovel. Remove snow every few inches, if possible. Breaking the job up into smaller chunks makes it more manageable and prevents injury by allowing your body to rest between.

• Choose a good shovel. Look for a length that allows your back to remain straight, with a lightweight blade. 

• Keep your back straight, lifting snow with your legs to prevent back strain and injury. 

• Wear proper clothes: boots with good traction, a warm coat and insulated gloves. As the Norwegian proverb says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” 

• Always carry your cell phone in your pocket. This way you can alert someone in case of a fall.