Have questions about the city's response to snow and ice? Read on.
Winter in Colorado means snow! Even before flakes start to fall, city snow crews are constantly monitoring conditions to prepare for winter weather. Though the team works around the clock to clear snow from city streets during and after storms, one of the most important things to remember is that normal travel conditions cannot always be maintained when there is snow and ice on the ground.
400+ miles of streets and 70+ of multi-use paths are regularly plowed by city snow crews and local partners. The city prioritizes emergency access routes, major arterial streets, and access to hospitals, schools, transit and critical infrastructure, as well as neighborhood streets with steep slopes.
Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions we receive about snow removal in the City of Boulder.
Have more questions? We have answers.
Do you plow residential streets?
Like other Front Range communities, the city does not typically plow side and residential streets since most snow usually melts within a day or two and because this would significantly increase costs, impacting other high-priority city services.
How can I report an area that needs to be cleared?
Visit Inquire Boulder to "Make a Service Request" for street plowing using the button at the bottom of the Snow Plow Request page. The Transportation Maintenance team will inspect the area and service clearing requests depending on conditions and after prioritized streets and multi-use paths are cleared.
Who is responsible for clearing sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks and bus stops?
Like most communities, city property owners, managers and tenants are required to keep their sidewalks clear of snow and ice within 24 hours after snow stops falling. This includes a 5’ path on curb ramps.
While crosswalks that connect multi-use paths are cleared by city snow crews, normal travel conditions cannot always be maintained during winter storms and community members may experience some snow in these areas. This happens more frequently if there is a turn lane, as plows and traffic push snow onto the crosswalk.
Bus stops are typically located within city right-of-way and are not considered part of the sidewalk. The city and RTD have responsibility to clear bus stops. There are over 550 bus stops in Boulder.
Can a neighborhood hire private snow removal for HOAs and city streets?
There is no code provision that prohibits an HOA from plowing a private street. However, city code prohibits work in the public right of way without a permit and the city does not issue permits for private parties to plow public streets. This is to regulate work activities within the public right of way, and to protect the integrity and operation of the transportation system.
Why can’t you just remove the snow instead of letting it pile up?
During winters when Boulder gets a large volume of snow, packed snow will remain even after trucks have plowed the street. It is important to note that plows and snow clearing equipment move snow from one place to another instead of removing it entirely. If Boulder experiences significant snow followed by several days of below freezing temps, the result can be layers of packed ice, which the city's equipment isn’t designed to remove.
How can I get my street added to the city’s regular plow route?
We are in the process of reviewing and potentially updating our snow clearing program in 2023 and there may be opportunities for community engagement on this topic later this year, which will be posted here.