BROOKINGS – Matt Bartley, superintendent of the Brookings Street Department, explained the city's new Snow and Ice Removal Operations Plan during a study session with Brookings City Hall on Tuesday. He stressed that adding staff will help keep the downtown area clear.
The plan is available as an attachment to the agenda of the November 12 meeting on the city's website.
This is an operational plan, "something we have never had before," said city manager Paul Briseno. "Now we have exposed everything in one plan. This has led Matt about a year to create, working with his employees to develop this plan, looking for the best management practices of other communities."
Now, snow removal is based on what the storm will do, instead of waiting for people to make the decision, Briseno said. "That way, we are also more consistent with our response."
Bartley said there are three storm classifications, which determine how crews handle snow and ice.
Class 1 covers zero to 2 inches of snow, with little or no accumulation, which would be handled only by city teams, Bartley said.
Because it tends to freeze, there is very little plow; It's more defrosting, he added.
The class 2 storm measures 2 to 6 inches and includes an emergency snow route warning, where the public cannot park on any emergency snow route.
"That way we can make sure those roads are clear and open for any ambulance, fire service, police, whatever it takes to get to those certain quadrants of the city," Bartley said.
"A snow alert can be activated in this category," Bartley said. When snow accumulation is around 4 inches, snow removal activity can become more aggressive.
Contractors can be called, but if city teams can handle it, they will, he said.
Class 3 is the snow alert classification with "heavy snowfall: more than 6 inches, usually in that 24-hour range," Bartley said.
"We do not receive many of these storms, but when we have them, it is a kind of snowfall with all hands on the deck," he said.
The Street Department will coordinate with the Police Department to install a parking ban.
Contractors will be outside their assigned areas, as will city teams, Bartley said.
Ice storms are treated as class 1 storms, with class 1 procedures followed. Only city teams are called, with sand trucks and defrosting applications. Bartley said there isn't much, apart from sanding, that they can do.
“However, these storms can become something that is a bit more eminent danger to the public. Then, at that point, hopefully, we trust that citizens stay at home, not on those roads, "Bartley said.
Bartley showed a map with streets marked in red, green and blue, according to the order in which they will be erased.
The first streets to be cleared are the emergency routes marked in red, including Medary Avenue, Third Street and a section of First Avenue.
The main arterial and collecting routes that will be cleared below are marked in green and include Western Avenue, Eighth Street, Second Street South, Orchard Drive, 17th Avenue, Fifth Street South, Elm Avenue, Christine Avenue, 15th Street South (between Medary and 17th) and 20th Street South.
The third wave of streets to be cleared are marked in blue on the map, including Sixth Street, 22nd Avenue, Main Avenue and Eighth Street South.
“Then we go to our most residential areas or to the other streets, cul de sacs; then finally in alleys, ”said Bartley.
He mentioned that they don't plow alleys in every snowfall.
"We like to get to that, we say, 4-inch range, and then we make sure to hit each one of them," Bartley said.
A snow alert parking ban is generally implemented when snow accumulation is around 4 inches. The type of snowfall (light and fluffy or wet and heavy) brings variables.
"One thing to keep in mind is that no snowstorm is the same and no snowstorm is the same," Bartley said.
A minimum four-hour notice will be given for the parking ban.
The notification will be published on websites, social networks, Snow Line at 605-696-7669, television and radio stations, as well as in the text message and email alert system. The Brookings Registry Share city alerts on the newspaper's Facebook page.
The Notify Me alert system is "excellent," but people have to sign up for it, Bartley said. Send an alert to the person's phone immediately.
Councilwoman Holly Tilton Byrne said it was a very underused system and asked that it be promoted more, especially with university students, because many people she mentions do not know.
Councilman Dan Hansen said all students are automatically in the campus alert system and that includes snow bans.
A special effort is made to let South Dakota State University students know, Bartley said. His department also advises students to park outside the city streets if they are going to leave during school vacations.
As a street superintendent, he coordinates with the interim street superintendent, the chief of police and the city administrator to declare parking bans. Any of those people can declare a parking ban.
Councilwoman Patty Bacon said that last year, teams were running out of places to transport snow.
“We had to close the city dump on the west side of the city, just have them take us downtown. And I asked each contractor to start taking everything eastward, "to the Marketplace plot, Bartley said.
Councilman Nick Wendell said in recent years that he has received more positive than negative comments about snow removal. Concerns are centered around two districts: the center and the blocks surrounding the schools.
Bartley said he is working with Ashley Biggar of the Brookings center to spread the word to the center's business owners. Store owners can remove snow from sidewalks to the streets before the plows pass.
"That would help us, really," Bartley said.
He acknowledged that there was confusion in the past "because we were more focused on opening the city" and now there is an effort "to make sure they don't feel forgotten."
Councilwoman Leah Brink asked why the city center was not red, blue or green due to the commerce generated by the stores.
The streets are prioritized according to services, Bartley said, using Third Street leading to the hospital as an example. In addition, removing snow from the city center requires more labor due to obstacles and there is no room for rows, as in other streets.
Hiring personnel from the Parks department has "greatly helped" clean up the city center with the same efficiency as the rest of the city, Bartley said.
Wendell said the way snow accumulated on the side of the street in front of the schools created a problem for residents to enter and exit.
Bartley said they had talked to the contractors and asked them to take the snow to the snow plow sites so that everyone can work better together to take the burden off the residents.
Tilton Byrne asked if Bartley had other places to transport snow when market land develops. Bartley said there were other lands in the city, even just north of the Market.
The councilors also recommended ways to promote programs and educate the public about issues such as cleaning snow sidewalks.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at (protected email)