Snow Removal

Snow Removal Safety

“Snow Safe” suggestions when snow conditions exist:

  • City snowplows are deployed when an average of three (3) inches of snow have fallen (accumulated) on the ground citywide. When snow conditions, snowplows have the right of way on streets and vehicles left unattended in the streets are subject to citation and/or tow. The best policy is to keep your vehicle(s) parked off the streets at all times.
  • Cars subject to citation and/or tow are those parked in the street right-of-way. The City right-of-way extends beyond the edge of the pavement to the property line, generally 5 to 10 feet beyond the edge of the pavement.
  • The primary purpose of snow removal is to clear snow from streets for emergency vehicles, school buses, hospital entry, refuse trucks and all vehicle traffic.
  • The City is asking that you keep all trash containers behind the berm, on your property. Improper placement of trash containers can result in damaged containers and/or snow removal equipment. This affects the level of service we are able to provide to the community.
  • When shoveling snow from your driveway, shovel to the right as you face the street. This way, the plow will move the snow further down the road, rather than move the shoveled snow back into your driveway.
  • Child Safety-please keep children indoors while snow removal operations are underway.
  • Pedestrian Safety-Don't watch snow removal operations from the edge of the road.
  • Back Off - Keep a safe distance (40+ feet) when driving/standing behind snow removal equipment.
  • Slow Down! - The maximum speed when chain controls are in effect is 25 miles per hour.

Snow Removal Facts

  1. The primary purpose of snow removal is to clear all streets for orderly movement for emergency vehicles, school buses, entry to the hospital, refuse trucks, and all vehicle traffic.
  2. Primary routes are plowed first when generally three (3) inches of snow accumulates throughout the city. Initially, one lane is plowed to create a travel lane throughout the entire route. Plows will return to continue to push the snow off the street. Please wait until they return for the final pass before contacting the city about any concerns regarding snow removal.
  3. Berms are a residual part of snow removal and there is now way to avoid berms. Please refer to city code 26-40.2. When snow removal occurs, so will berms. The size of the berm fluctuates depending on many variable conditions; number of driveways on the street, density of the snow, the amount of snowfall and snowdrifts to name a few. City streets range from 24-40 feet wide and all the snow that falls in the street must be displaced to the side of the streets. The wider the street, the more snow will be moved to the edge of the street. In addition, most parcels within the City have now been developed creating more driveways; more driveways prohibits less open space for snow storage. All snow is pushed to the side of the street as evenly as possible to all parcels. Wet heavy snow makes it harder to manipulate for the plow drivers and residents alike.
  4. Gates on the snowplows were installed to minimize the impact of the berm; however, they do not make berms disappear, larger amounts of snowfall equate to a potentially larger berm. The plow blade can only carry so much snow, when the blade is full, the snow flows around and over the gate and seeks the path of least resistance, which is usually the open driveways.

Snow Removal Parking Guide

Snow Season Preparation (PDF)

Snow Removal Maintenance Responsibility - Chapter 26-50
Snow Plow Zones (2021)

The City's Snow Removal Plan (PDF) provides comprehensive description of the City's efforts to ensure snow is removed from City streets as efficiently and quickly as is safely possible.

In an effort to address concerns about snow removal operations within the City, please review following informational videos.

Overview of Snow removal operations

Discussing Graders and Berms

The function of Snow Blower operations

Use caution when snow removal widening operations are underway

Do you have a snow removal concern to report? Submit your concern online.

The City of South Lake Tahoe's snow removal phone line is (530) 542-6030.
For County residents, the snow removal phone number is (530) 573-3180.