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When does Denver plow side streets? Your snowplow questions answered

After it snows in Denver, a common question is "Why aren't they plowing my residential street?"

DENVER — This is Colorado. Snow is an expected part of winter.

But with many new people coming to our state and the Denver metro area, many folks wonder what specific policies there are in regards to plowing and making sure sidewalks are clear.

We asked Denver Public Works, Denver 311 and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to answer your frequently asked questions.

Why isn’t my street plowed? 

CDOT, Denver Public Works and area counties will plow heavily-traveled roads first before moving onto ones that don’t see as much traffic.

Emphasis is also placed on areas around hospitals and schools. Denver has 70 large plows and 36 smaller, residential plows.

This means that yes, you likely will be driving on an unplowed road at some point during a snowstorm – which makes sense, because there are thousands upon thousands of miles of streets in the area, and it takes manpower to reach these.

As for residential streets, that’s up to certain counties. In Denver, the determination about whether or not to plow side streets is on a case-by-case basis.

There’s not really a rule of thumb when it comes to how many inches of snow it takes to deploy residential plows, but instead, the determination is made by if it will be useful, according to Denver Public Works.

This can be frustrating – especially if you happen to live on the wrong side of the street. You can also call 311 and report what you think are problem streets after a storm. They’ll pass this feedback along to Denver Public Works.

Credit: 9NEWS

Will Denver plow bike lanes?

Ice and snow in on-street, non-protected bike lanes are treated as ice complaints. Denver will send a crew with large equipment to blade the ice in these lanes after a complaint is received via 311 or Pocketgov.

For protected bike lanes, Denver will drop down deicer as needed or appropriate, and run smaller plows over snowy or icy areas when complaints are made via 311 or Pocketgov

Is there a snow plow tracker?

Yes, if you’re looking for plows, there’s a tracker at Denver Public Works and CDOT’s website.

When should you shovel your sidewalks? 

Denver requires that property owners clear snow and ice from their sidewalks, including adjacent ADA ramps.

As soon as the snow stops falling, businesses need to begin clearing their sidewalks immediately. Residences need to clear their sidewalks by the next day.

Inspectors will leave a time-stamped notice at properties with un-shoveled sidewalks. After receiving a notice, businesses have four hours and residences have 24 hours before the inspector’s re-check and a potential $150 fine.

If it has been more than 24 hours after a snow event and sidewalks near you are still not shoveled, contact Denver 311 to provide the address of the unshoveled sidewalk.

Credit: Matt Renoux

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