When snow and ice hits the Village of Western Springs, the Public Works storm fighting crews are ready for action. In early fall, the Public Works Department begins review of storm fighting strategies and makes sure the snow plowing equipment is ready. As a resident, you may wonder what you can expect the Village to do during a snow and ice event, and what you can do to minimize inconveniences caused by snow storms. Listed below are some frequently asked questions and answers.
Snow Removal Frequently Asked Questions
What are the parking regulations during a snow
When snow begins, residents should make every effort to remove parked cars from streets. Clear streets allow Village staff to salt, and later plow when snow accumulates beyond two inches. It is illegal to park on any street for 12 hours after a snowfall of two or more inches.
What roads does the Village plow?
The Village clears all residential streets located within the community's boundaries. Wolf Road is maintained by the Cook County Highway Department and Ogden Avenue, 47th Street and 55th Street are maintained by IDOT.
When will Public Works crews plow my road?
Public Works crews remove snow in assigned snow routes for each subdivision. Priority is first given to those streets that act as emergency access routes into and out of subdivisions. After these roads are clear, other residential streets will be plowed with cul-de-sacs being cleared after all through streets are clear. Generally, one plow is assigned per subdivision and removal crews do not deviate from the snow route unless life safety conditions exist.
The snowplow damaged the lawn in the parkway when it went down the street. Will the Village repair the damage?
Public Works crews will repair damage to the parkway/lawn only if caused by Village snowplows. Lawn damage will be repaired in early spring as the weather permits. Please call the Public Works Department, 708-246-1800, Ext. 200, as soon as possible to report damage.
The snowplow damaged my mailbox when it went down the street. Will the Village repair the damage?
Public Works crews will repair damage to mailboxes physically struck by Village snowplows. Mailboxes will be repaired on a temporary basis and/or a temporary mailbox will be placed if weather conditions do not allow for a permanent mailbox to be installed.
A permanent mailbox replacement/repair will occur when weather conditions allow. Please call the Public Works Department as soon as possible to report damage.
Why does the Village use so much salt on the roads?
Salt is applied in quantities recommended for the conditions that exist during each storm event. Several factors, including ambient temperature, precipitation rate, and traffic volume all factor into the calculation for the salt application rate used on each street or intersection.
Where should I shovel my snow?
Pile it up, do not push it out into the street. The snow in the street will only be pushed back onto driveways and may create an ice hazard. It is recommended that residents wait until the streets are clear before shoveling their driveway if possible.
How long does it take Village crews to clear snow and ice from Village Streets?
The goal of the Public Works Department is to have all streets cleared within 24 hours after a snow event. However, due to the severity and duration of an event or the amount of snow previously on the ground, removal operations may continue for longer than 24 hours.
Snow in the central business district will be piled up during a snow event. Once all residential streets are cleared, crews will haul out snow in the central business district to open up pedestrian access when possible.
Will I be able to get my car out of commuter parking spaces if it snows while I am at work?
When snow events occur during business hours, Public Works crews will make reasonable efforts not to plow in those cars parked in commuter locations along Hillgrove Avenue and Burlington Avenue. Unfortunately, the crews cannot clear around individual cars and depending upon the severity of the storm some snow will be pushed up to the back of those parking stalls.
Will the Village clear the my driveway apron or the sidewalks located in front of my home or property?
The Village does not have the staff to clear driveway aprons or sidewalks located in front of businesses or residential properties. During a snow event all personnel are assigned to removal operations within the Village's subdivisions or around the commuter platforms located in the central business district.
If we have an emergency during a snow and ice event, how can a fire engine or ambulance get to my house?
If you have a life safety emergency, call 911 immediately. An emergency vehicle and a snowplow, if necessary, will be dispatched to your location.
What can residents do to help?
Thank you for asking. There are a number of things residents can do to assist during storm events.
- Please park your car in your driveway and not on the street. This will ensure that crews can plow the entire street during a storm event.
- Assist emergency services and keep any hydrants near your property free of snow so they are easily accessible during an emergency.
- On garbage days, if you put out your trash, place your trash at the end of your driveway. Please do not place any garbage or recycling in the street.
- Please do not shovel or plow snow into the street. If crews have completed their work, the deposited snow can freeze, causing a public safety hazard for vehicles and pedestrians.
- If you are able, please shovel your sidewalks located in front of your home.
Snow Removal Safety
While shoveling snow can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for optimistic shovelers who take on more than they can handle. The National Safety Council offers the following tips to help you get a handle on safe shoveling:
Individuals over the age of 40, or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.
- If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
- Do not shovel after eating or while smoking.
- Take it slow! Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Be sure to stretch out and warm up before taking on the task.
- Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down variety.
- Push the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
- Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
- Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you.
- Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.
- Dress warmly. Remember that extremities, such as the nose, ears, hands and feet, need extra attention during winter’s cold. Wear a turtleneck sweater, cap, scarf, face protection, mittens, wool socks and waterproof boots.