When It Snows

When it snows, Eden Prairie street maintenance crews clear 230  miles of City streets and over 100 miles of sidewalks and trails.

In a typical winter, we are often asked the following questions by residents:

Who handles snow removal on the sidewalk or trail by my house?

The answer to that question is:

City ordinance requires businesses and homeowners on non-arterial streets to remove snow and ice from a 5-foot width of the public sidewalks or trails abutting or adjoining their property, with the exception of any trails running between or behind homes or private property. The purpose of this ordinance is to expand the network of sidewalks and trails available for public use in the winter months and ensure the safety of pedestrians, especially children walking to and from school. Residents are also asked to assist emergency officials and postal carriers by removing snow around fire hydrants and mailboxes.

This winter, with our record-breaking snowfall amounts, we are often
being asked:

When is the City going to complete snow removal on the sidewalk or trail by my house?

The answer to that question is:

Our Streets and Parks Maintenance Divisions are working hard to get all of the trails and sidewalks cleared for pedestrians.  The problem is, due to the depth and frozen condition of the snowpack, we are limited to using “blower” equipment to move the snow.  So, instead of using pickups on the trails, which might plow at 10–15 miles per hour, we have only 6–7 snow blowers that move at a much slower speed. 

To further exacerbate the situation, the frequency of large snow falls over the past few weeks has forced us into a cycle of: plowing the street which pushes snow onto the walks; then beginning to clear the walk system with blowers; only to get interrupted by a new snow and start all over again. In an effort to break this cycle and make progress on clearing trails and walkways, the decision was made yesterday that, for the first time in memory (possibly ever), we will put a second shift onto overtime to better utilize the available equipment and try to catch up. 

Also, please understand that our primary focus for the pedestrian walkway system will be on those walks that radiate from the school locations – especially within the walking route distance.  Therefore, the walks in your neighborhood might have to be at a lower priority, but we will get to them.  Our goal will be to have the system in good condition by the time Eden Prairie students return from Christmas break.  Weather dependent,
of course.

I would like to thank all of the residents and businesses of Eden Prairie, for your patience while we respond to a snow accumulation situation that hasn’t occurred in our community in nearly 20 years.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Gene Dietz
Director of Public Works