News Release - Mayor Warren Announces Snow Removal, Winter Preparedness Plans

City of Rochester

News Release

(Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017) – The salt is piled high, City snow plows are all gassed up, and the City’s snow-fighting team has their go-bags packed. Across the city, citizens are pulling snow shovels out of basements, swapping in their winter tires and stocking up on sidewalk salt. Winter is here, and Mayor Lovely Warren is urging citizens to prepare their homes and families for winter weather events.

“Last year we had a significant wind storm followed by a snow storm and catastrophic weather events are increasing in intensity and frequency,” Mayor Warren said. “Keeping our community as safe as possible and minimizing disruption to our daily activities during severe weather events is a responsibility shared by government, citizens and the private and non-profit sectors. During winter weather emergencies we all need to be prepared, informed and resilient.”


The City’s Operation Center is home base for the City’s snow removal operations. The salt barn is stocked with 8,000 tons of salt. The facility contains more than 200 pieces of equipment.

The City’s Department of Environmental Services, led by Commissioner Norman Jones and Operations Manager Karen St. Aubin, keeps an eye on the forecasts. When snow is predicted, the main roads (arterials) are treated with salt, and snow plows head out along the arterials when the flakes start flying.

When 3 inches of new snow has fallen, residential streets are plowed, and when 4 inches of new snow has fallen, sidewalks are plowed.

The David F. Gantt Recreation Center is once again prepared to operate as an emergency shelter. During extreme cold conditions when it is anticipated that citizens may need shelter from the cold due to power outages, closed or blocked roads or broken furnaces, the Mayor may issue a Heat Sweep.

The City’s Heat Sweep program, in partnership with the American Red Cross of Greater Rochester, provides temporary emergency shelter at selected City R-Centers, community centers and/or libraries.

“The Red Cross is proud to partner with the City of Rochester to help this community prepare for the winter months ahead,” said Kenneth J. Turner, American Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer and Interim CEO, Western and Central New York Region. “We know winter weather is coming, and now is the time for people to make sure their families are safe and prepared.”

Citizens are asked to sit down with their families and have a discussion about winter storm preparedness. The Red Cross suggest that families make a communications plan in the event that power or cell signals go out, keep a first aid kit and an emergency kit for at least three days of self-sufficiency without power. Winterize homes and vehicles, and bring pets inside. More guidance can be found at

Public Information:

Citizens will be able to track snow plows in real time using the PlowTrax application, and can adopt a fire hydrant using an interactive map online. The “Clear the Snow so All Can Go” campaign will return to urge citizens to clear their sidewalks to help those with physical disabilities. For more information on these programs, visit:

“It is critical for everyone in our community to be prepared for snow emergencies, especially people with disabilities,” said Stephanie Woodward, Director of Advocacy for the Rochester Center for Disability Rights. “We are thankful that the City of Rochester has tools to help disabled people during emergencies, such as the text to 911 service that allows deaf people and people with speech disabilities to effectively communicate with emergency personnel during times of crises.”

Citizens are also urged to monitor parking and snow emergencies, and pay special attention to alternate side parking regulations. During a parking emergency, parking will be prohibited on the city’s 65 narrowest and hardest to plow streets. Signs are posted on these blocks, and those residents can receive a call from the 911 center by registering their phone with Hyper-Reach. Call 311 or visit this link to sign up:

For more information on parking emergencies, visit:

On the roads, residents are asked to drive slowly and give themselves plenty of time to get to where they need to go, and also leave plenty of space for snow plows and other vehicles. Abide by travel advisories and travel bans.


Once a winter event is over, the City is prepared to clear debris, reopen the roads and restore critical services.

“In Rochester, we’ve faced many challenges, and each time we have bounced back,” Mayor Warren said. “This year, if a storm hits, our community will be prepared, informed and resilient. But, as always, we plan for the worst but hope for the best.”


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.

City of Rochester snow removal FAQ

When are snow plows deployed?
• When the snow starts to fall, main streets (arterials) are plowed continually. Arterials and certain roadways (schools, bus routes, bridges, hills, etc.) are treated with salt.
• When 3 inches of new snow has fallen, residential streets are plowed.
• When 4 inches of new snow has fallen, sidewalks are plowed.

How do I know when my street will be plowed?
• The PlowTrax web application is activated during snow events, and tracks the progress of the City plows • See the PlowTrax map, updated every five minutes, at

Are there any parking restrictions when it snows?
• When a “parking emergency” is declared, street parking is prohibited on designated streets. For a map of the streets:
• Citizens will be notified through the media, and residents on these streets will receive a call through the City-County 911 Center.
If you have a mobile phone, register for this service by calling 311 or visiting 
• Free parking will be allowed in the Mortimer Street garage and the Regional Transit Service will provide free service between the garage and the parking emergency streets.
• Residents may also park on a neighboring, non-parking emergency block.
• The City may also declare a “snow emergency” where parking is prohibited on streets around the city on a rotating basis so the streets can be fully plowed and cleared.

What are my responsibilities during a storm?

• Sidewalks: Residents and business owners are responsible for the sidewalks in front of their house. The City provides a supplemental service when 4 inches of new snow accumulates. For people with physical disabilities, even one inch of snow on the sidewalk can drastically impede movement, so please – Clear the snow so all can go!
• Hydrants: Citizens can “adopt” a fire hydrant near their home or business to keep clear of snow and ice. Visit for an interactive map.

How should I prepare my family for a storm?

• Families are urged to develop an emergency plan in the event of a major storm or a power outage, and pay attention to travel bans and travel advisories. For more information on preparing for snow storms and extreme cold, visit

• If power is lost, check on neighbors who may be elderly or infirmed.


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.