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Snow Removal

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Snow Emergency Parking Ban
Snow plow removing snow on Woodward Ave.To improve snow removal in the City, Birmingham has adopted an ordinance which prohibits parking on any street whenever snow accumulation of four inches (4") or more it automatically goes into effect, or if the Director of Public Services or his/her designee declares a Snow Emergency.

When a Snow Emergency is declared, that information will be broadcast on area radio and television stations, including Cable Channel 15. There will also be a notification on the homepage of the City's website.

During the ban, it is a civil infraction to park a vehicle or allow it to remain parked on any City roadway until the roadway has been cleared of snow.  Illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed and may be towed, and the registered owner of such a vehicle will be responsible for the towing cost.
Please do not shovel snow into the road or onto someone else's property.

The Snow Emergency Parking Ban provides for exemptions from the Snow Emergency Parking Ban (Section 8) which states:

"In all areas of the City, an owner of a motor vehicle who resides at premises which does not have a driveway, shall be exempted from the requirement to move said motor vehicle in the event of a snow emergency; however, residents in the area are required to park their vehicles as close to the curb as possible to make room for snow plows and other emergency vehicles.  Owners of exempt vehicles should place their exempt stickers in the rear side window on the driver's side of the vehicle.  Motor vehicles with handicapped stickers shall also be exempt from the provisions of this ordinance."

Routing Priority

The Department reviews routing priority annually.  When changes of magnitude are made, City Commission concurrence of the changes is requested.
a recently snowplowed street
Top priority is given to high traffic streets and intersections.  In certain instances, residential streets are included in a higher priority classification due to particular problems caused by the nature of the terrain, or use of the street.  There are also instances where lower priority streets are used to access major streets or to speed up "turn-a-round" time for equipment.  Areas around public and private schools receive higher priority than the streets might otherwise deserve in order to improve safety of children, making traveling to and from the schools safer.

Street Priority

First priority before and during winter storms is aimed at reducing the accumulation of snow on the streets.  Major streets are salted first.  If time and conditions permit, intersections of these streets and residential streets are then salted.  As conditions worsen, and salt or salt/chloride mixtures become less effective or inadequate, plowing, on a priority similar to that of salting, is started.  Under normal storm conditions, plowing begins when snow depth reaches three inches (3").  Intensity and the forecast duration of the storm have a major effect on this determination.  Residential streets are plowed when snow depth exceeds four inches (4") or when conditions dictate plowing.

Plowing of residential streets and "Curbing" is one of the major complaints received by the Department of Public Services.  Residents often have their driveways shoveled out prior to plowing of residential streets resulting in snowplows depositing snow in their driveways.  Although it is unfortunate that this occurs, there is no alternative.  It is a necessary part of the process of providing safe, snow free streets for their entire width and open storm drains to take water from melting snow in order to prevent flooding and freezing on the road.

Downtown Birmingham Snow Removal

When snow depth reaches three (3) inches in the Downtown Birmingham, snow is plowed to the center of the street, in preparation for hauling to one of several dump sites.  Hauling snow from the Downtown Birmingham begins when storm conditions abate, and following completion of the initial plowing and salting operations on all major streets.  It is conducted at the same time other snow fighting units are working on intersection salting and (when necessary and conditions permit) residential plowing has started.

The hauling process is started in the early morning hours prior to traffic build-up and the need for parking spaces presents itself.  The goal of the haul-out project is to have all snow in this area windrowed to the center of the street before 9:00 AM.  Loaders are used to cut passageways through the center windrows as needed to allow access to various parts of the Downtown Birmingham.  It also allows safer vehicle and pedestrian movement in the area.

In addition to the Downtown Birmingham, snow is also hauled from the length of Woodward Avenue from Oak Street to Lincoln Avenue.  The snow is windrowed to the center of the street.  It is hauled when time allows, but before access drive and parking lot hauling begins, unless they present a hazard. 

Sidewalk Clearing
A man shoveling a sidewalk
City ordinance (sections 98-66 to 98-68) requires the abutting property owner to clear the public sidewalk of snow and ice within such snow or ice shall be cleared as set forth in this section within 12 hours after such cessation. When any snow or ice shall have ceased to fall or form during the nighttime, it shall be cleared by 6:00 p.m. on the day following.  Failure to maintain your sidewalk(s) of snow will result in the city clearing your walk and charging the property owner a minimum of $100.00.  Business owners are reminded to clear the sidewalk from the building to the street. This is to ensure the safety of the walking and shopping public.  Please lend a helping hand to any neighbors who may be physically or otherwise unable to clear sidewalks. Also, please be sure to clear the ice and snow from around the storm drains in your neighborhood.

Fire Hydrants
Per city code, fire hydrants must be cleared of snow and ice to enable quick access in the event of an emergency. If possible, please clear a path from the hydrant to the street to assist firefighters.

Snow Hydrant Image