What You Should Know About Snow
Snow in Pinetop-Lakeside
The Town of Pinetop-Lakeside is well known for its majestic beauty, distinctive seasons, and a small-town atmosphere. At an elevation of 6800 feet, residents and visitors alike can enjoy winter recreation that includes both cross-country and downhill skiing, sledding, snowmobiling and ice fishing. However, with the snow season comes the need to take necessary precautions.
Our average yearly snowfall is only around 38 inches, but some winters are more severe than others. To keep the streets clear and safe for our residents and visitors, we must be prepared for the worst possible conditions. When snow accumulates to two inches or more, the Pinetop-Lakeside Public Work’s “snow shift” is deployed. These crews will remain on two, 12-hour shifts for 24-hour coverage until the storm is over and all clean up is accomplished.
Please check all seasonal parking restriction.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – SNOW (Updated 1/20/23)
There are over 120 lane miles in the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside that Public Works Staff snowplow. The average winter storm of four to six inches of snow requires a minimum of two days plowing after the snow has stopped falling to clear a path on all streets. The Main Arterials, School Bus Routes, and Emergency Routes must be plowed continually to provide for emergency access. The plowing of residential streets may not begin until after snowfall has stopped.
When is it okay to park on my street again after it’s been plowed?
No person shall park, or permit to be parked, any vehicle owned or controlled by that person, on any street between midnight and 7:00 a.m., from November 1st to April 1st or at any time while snow operations are being conducted. Be careful as it may take the plows more than one pass to get the job done completely. As long as the storm continues, it is unwise to park on the street this may lead to a civil citation.
Whom may I call if I have a suggestion, complaint, or request?
Take a look at the Snowplow Removal Responsibilities Map to determine the right agency to contact. There are three agencies responsible for snow removal in and around Pinetop-Lakeside. For medical, fire or police emergencies, call 911.
Why did the snowplow leave a ridge/berm/windrow in front of my driveway, and why is it my responsibility to get rid of it?
The ridge left behind as the snowplow passes is called a windrow/berm. It is higher than the undisturbed snow level. A windrow cannot be avoided. The Town does not have resources to remove windrows/berms therefore it becomes the property owners’ responsibility to create access to the driveway.
Why can’t the snowplow operators put the snow in the center of the road to avoid berms in our driveway?
The minimum-width 10 foot traffic lanes (such as in residential areas) are to be kept open, there is not enough room in the center of the roads for snow. Roads need to be cleared for emergency vehicle access, and narrow roads already limit their access.
Placing snow in the center of the roadway would also create several safety and liability issues:
- It would be difficult or impossible to make left turns across the center berm.
- Streets are designed to drain to the edge of the roads, so the snow needs to be pushed to the edge. Snow melting in the middle of the road would create icy conditions known as black ice as the water runs toward the edges of the road. This would also create asphalt deterioration of our roads due to the constant freezing and thawing.
What if they missed plowing my street?
The Town’s Snow Removal Policy requires that main arterial roadways, school Bus Routes and Emergency routes be plowed first, and then be kept open, so operators may not begin plowing residential streets for several hours after the snow has stopped falling, or up to two days after the storm ends. If all other streets in your area have been plowed and yours hasn’t, please look for your street on the Snowplow Removal Responsibilities Map and call the appropriate agency.
It seems like we’re always plowed last. Why can’t we be first sometimes?
That’s a good question. Our drivers follow a pattern of clearing to make them more efficient. The routes are pre-planned turn by turn. This type of pre-planning reduces the amount of backing and turning around making it safer for the driver and the public.
I am elderly or disabled and can’t shovel snow. What can I do?
If possible, hire a neighbor or some other temporary help to clear the sidewalks, or call local service groups, churches, or the Department of Economic Security for help with personal snow removal.
Can the Town snowplow operator plow my driveway or berm if I am elderly, disabled, or not physically able to shovel?
Unfortunately, there are several reasons why the Town is unable to provide this service:
- The Street Maintenance Division does not have the resources to plow driveways and/or berms of those who are unable to do so. Our primary goal is to use the resources we have, to provide safe and reliable roadways in the most efficient manner possible.
- The equipment we use to plow is heavy in nature and most driveways are not designed for this purpose. This may lead to significant damage of private property.
- Driveways are considered private land and the Town is bound by state law and prohibited from using the HURF funding (Highway User Revenue Fund) outside the Town’s Right of Way.
We encourage those who are not able to shovel to ask neighbors for assistance or hire a private snowplow service.
What if it snows on trash day?
Most trash services will not operate in winter storms as it is unsafe for the driver and the public. It’s best if you contact your service provider and make sure they are picking up trash before you place a trash can in the road to be picked up. Trash cans in streets are hazardous for our snowplows and tend to fall over from the snow being pushed by the plow. There is nothing the snowplow operator can do to prevent this safely. Snow in front of a snowplow will begin to move well before the snowplow reaches it. Depending on the snow this can vary in distance up to 20+ feet in front of the plow truck. Thus, causing trash cans to fall over.
What if I have an emergency and can’t get out of my house?
In the event of an emergency, call 911. If the Police Department determines you have a qualifying emergency, a plow will be dispatched to help emergency crews get access.
How can citizens help during the snow season?
- Prepare for the snow season – get the necessary equipment, including snow shovels, snow blower, and tire chains.
- Be aware of weather forecasts. The National Weather Service reliably predicts winter storm activity. Be sure to obtain prescription medications, groceries and other necessities prior to the arrival of the storm whenever possible.
- Know what kind of road you live on – Town, County, private or public road. And, whether your road is an arterial, collector, main residential, cul-de-sac, or residential side street.
- If you live on a private street, get together with neighbors and have a plan for plowing.
- Know what is too much. If a big storm is coming and you have a job that requires you to be there, arrange to have your driveway and berm plowed by a private contractor. In the event of a heavy snowfall, you may need to have the contractor plow your berm a couple of times in one day to keep up with our plows, which are also trying to keep up with the snowfall.
- If possible, please help neighbors who are elderly or disabled by shoveling their driveway and berm.
- Do not shovel snow back onto the roadway. It is dangerous and you could be held liable in the event of an accident. Arizona State Statute 13-2906 states that “obstructing a highway or other public thoroughfare is a class 3 misdemeanor”.
- Please try not to take it personally! Town snowplow operators are doing their job and not intentionally trying to create a hardship for you. They also wake up, or come home to a berm that they have to shovel as well.
- Avoid unnecessary travel in winter driving conditions.
To keep yourself and your family safe during winter driving, the National Safety Council recommends the following:
- Check the weather forecast before you go.
- Don’t travel during a storm unless you absolutely need to.
- Tell a friend or family member where you’re going, and when you’ll be back.
- If you get stranded, don’t leave your vehicle; light flares around it (if you have them) and turn on your hazard lights.
- Prepare your car for winter; if you’ve been putting off that visit to the mechanic, now’s the time!
- Try to keep your gas tank at least half full at all times.
- Learn how to avoid crashes: slow down, and leave an 8- to 10-second distance between your vehicle and the one in front.
- Be prepared! Especially if you’re going on a long trip, make sure that you have essentials like blankets, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, and non-clumping kitty litter (for better tire traction).