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City details new plans to clear snow from streets, bike lanes

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Residential streets and bike lanes will be cleared faster this winter

Photo by Robin Runyan

Once the first major snow falls, will residents be able to traverse most Detroit streets by car or bike? This morning, the city outlined its plans for snow plowing, which will allow for more vehicular traffic, and bikes, this winter.

In the past, the city only cleared a 10-foot wide path down streets after six inches of snow. This year, contractors will have to make two passes down each street, clearing a 16-foot wide path within 24 hours.

The city has also purchased new equipment to clear the 50 miles of protected bike lanes in the city. The protocol entails:

  • Three inches of snow or less: bike lanes will be salted
  • Between three and six inches of snow: bike lanes will be plowed and salted as needed.
  • Six inches of snow or more: bike lanes will be cleared within 48-72 hours after vehicle lanes are cleared of snow.

Depending on the amount, the snow will either be pushed to the curb or hauled away.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a better solution than pushing snow to the side of the road and navigating between moving vehicles, parked cars, and/or bikes.

Those who park on residential streets should pay attention to signage, the City of Detroit website, and media in regards to when they should move their vehicles for plowing.

“We know that parking on residential streets can be difficult after significant snow falls,” says DPW director Ron Brundidge. “We don’t plan to tow vehicles, especially since on-street parking is the only option in some areas, so we are asking for residents’ cooperation. Once we activate the contractors, we are asking that residents find a way to park their car off the street if at all possible.”

Residents and businesses are also responsible for clearing snow from their sidewalks.

The city is in a much better financial state than in past years, which will improve snow removal services. But Brundidge says the cost to clear more snow won’t come at a higher cost; it’s expected to cost $534,000 per cycle compared to $450,000 in the past.

As a reminder, major roadways like Michigan, Gratiot, and Woodward are maintained by the state, while county roads like Outer Drive and 7 Mile are maintained by Wayne County.

Residents can look to DPW’s snow removal site for more details on the process.