FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/October 3, 2017
CITY HIGHLIGHTS SNOW POLICIES, MESSAGES TO RESIDENTS
Winter Storm Atlas Anniversary Serves As Opportunity to Prepare & Review
RAPID CITY--The weather outside is anything but frightful, but this week marks the fourth anniversary of Winter Storm Atlas when the area was paralyzed with unseasonable winter conditions including heavy snows, high winds and icy conditions.
City officials utilize the Atlas anniversary as an opportunity to begin educating the public on important winter-related messages and information on the downtown snow removal alert policy, emergency preparedness, residential snow and ice removal, the City's snow plow routes, the City's policy for removal of snow on city streets and other relevant information.
We hope the information is useful to you in preparing storm-related stories.
EMERGENCY MESSAGES: Regarding the closure of City offices or alerts regarding downtown snow removal, the City will contact local media utilizing the telephone numbers and processes each media outlet has provided. In addition, 211 Public Impact Text Alerts will be used for 'No Travel Advisory' messages to the public. Text AlertRC to 898211. Visit http://www.pennco.org/pubimpact for more information. The public is also encouraged to sign up to receive 'Public Warning Messages' which will provide the public with critical information quickly in a variety of situations including life-threatening severe weather warnings, evacuation notices, hazardous chemical leaks, civil disturbance activity and more. Sign up at www.pennco.org/pubwarnmsg .
The City's Facebook page, Twitter account and City's Website Homepage will be updated with information as quickly as possible. Travel advisories and other immediate information will come to you from the Rapid City Police Department, Rapid City Fire Department, Rapid City Regional Airport, Pennington County Emergency Management, Rapid City Area Schools, State Department of Transportation and National Weather Service, among others. The City will work to reiterate these messages as they become available.
DOWNTOWN SNOW ALERT: The City's snow removal policy includes a downtown snow alert system. The snow alert system applies to removal of snow in the downtown core area during a declared snow alert. The downtown snow removal core area is defined as both sides of the street on Ninth Street to the west, Fifth Street to the east, Omaha Street to the north and Kansas City Street to the south. In addition, the City's Public Works Director can declare a Snow Removal Alert in the downtown core area for snow to be cleared for the safe and orderly flow of traffic for the safety, health and welfare of the general public.
When a Snow Removal Alert has been declared, any vehicle or trailer parked in the core area from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. may be removed by the police department and the vehicle's owner or operator assessed a fine of $25 and the charges for towing and storage of the vehicle. If the fine is not paid within 72 hours, the fine will be increased to $35.
If a Downtown Snow Alert is declared, the City will communicate the message with traditional media sources as well as utilizing the City's social media platform. The public can also access the status of snow alerts by texting 'RCSnow' to 898211.
SNOW REMOVAL POLICY (STREETS): The goal is to provide the motorist with the safest driving surface possible, in an efficient and economical manner, with the resources available. Initial service of streets during a snow/ice incident will be applications of sand, salt, liquid de-icer or a combination of these products. To reduce the amount of material used, flat level streets are not treated unless a special situation should exist. Other accepted chemicals may be used for maximum effectiveness.
Streets will be treated in the following order of priority:
*All arterial and emergency routes along with those streets having steep grades or other hazardous geometry and major intersections. Examples include Fifth Street to Rapid City Regional Hospital, Omaha Street, Mount Rushmore Road, Fairmont Boulevard, Saint Patrick Street, Jackson Boulevard, Sheridan Lake Road, Canyon Lake Drive.
*Collector and sub-collector streets and school routes.
SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL (SIDEWALKS): Per City Ordinance 12.12.090, it is the duty of the homeowner to keep the sidewalk(s) fronting or abutting a lot, parcel or plot of ground free from snow and ice at all times. When it is impossible to take the snow and ice from the walk by reason of it be being frozen to the sidewalk, the owner or occupant shall sprinkle or spread suitable material to prevent the walk from becoming slippery and dangerous to travel. Sidewalks that are not kept free from snow and ice are declared a nuisance, and upon the failure, neglect or refusal to comply, the owner or occupant may be held in violation. If the snow and ice is not removed within 24 hours, the City can have the area cleared of snow and ice with the costs assessed to the property.
**People who experience difficulties shoveling or maintaining their sidewalks during the winter due to a disability, age, etc. are advised to make preparations before the winter season to line up assistance for such tasks.
CITY PLOWING POLICY: Snow plowing incidents will be divided into three levels of service. The service level will be determined by the Director of Public Works or his designee.
*Level A Response (approximately 2-4 inches of snow depth): This level of service will include the plowing of all arterial streets, emergency routes, streets with steep grades and other hazardous geometry, collector streets and major intersections. May include downtown snow removal.
*Level B Response (approximately 4-6 inches of snow depth): Sub-collector streets and some high traffic residential streets will be plowed in addition to those streets covered in 'Level A Response'. Included in this service will be downtown snow removal. Some work may be contracted with the private sector.
*Level C Response (greater than 6 inches of snow depth): All remaining Rapid City streets. Contractors will be hired so this service may be completed in the shortest period of time possible.
Driveway entrances will not be opened by City crews under routine plowing operations. City policy will be to remove snow from sidewalks on public bridges and from curb side sidewalks located on streets with four or more traffic lanes, on a predominantly residential street and on a school pedestrian route. This work will only be done after street plowing operations have been completed.
City crews plow streets from curb to curb to maintain surface drainage.
*The City Streets Department has over 50 pieces of equipment related to snow removal. Combined with resources from the City's Parks Department, City Landfill and Rapid City Regional Airports, there are over 100 pieces of equipment that can be utilized at various City properties during a particular snow event.
*The City is divided into 19 different snow routes.
*There are over 400 miles of streets in Rapid City. Most of the streets are multi-lane with two, three and four-lanes of traffic. Stretching out the lanes and the 400 miles expands considerably. During a particular snow event, City crews can be traveling a distance from Rapid City to California and back.
*No snow 'event' is the same. Each event brings its own unique weather characteristics. City officials begin preparing for each snow event days in advance.
*Crews keep equipment maintained well in advance of the winter season. Chemical compound is purchased months in advance.
Here are important messages from:
*RAPID CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Interim Fire Chief Rod Seals asks the following from residents and visitors of Rapid City and the surrounding area: When advisories are issued, like “no travel advised”, please heed the warning for your own safety and of those that count on you. If you don’t need to go out, please don’t. If you must travel, be prepared. A winter travel kit in your vehicle can come in handy even if you are traveling in and around the City. (extra clothing, water, blankets, food, shovel, ice scraper, phone charger, etc). Maintain your vehicle for winter travel. (tires, wipers, battery, antifreeze, etc.)
*RAPID CITY REGIONAL AIRPORT: If the airport is closed, personnel will alert the media. If the runway is closed, updates are provided through their website and social media. Airlines may sometimes cancel or delay flights based on conditions even if the runway is open so airport officials always recommend the public to check with the specific airline regarding flight status.
*PENNINGTON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: You should carry a winter storm kit in your vehicle. The kit should contain: sleeping bags or blankets, matches and candles, winter clothing, food, first-aid kit, pocket knife, flashlight and radio with extra batteries for each, a bag of sand and shovel, tire chains and tools, windshield scraper, battery jumper cables, and two coffee cans. Small supplies can be kept in the coffee cans and when you are stranded, one can be used for personal sanitation needs and the other to burn the candles in for heat. When burning a candle, leave a down-wind window slightly open for air circulation and ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen without the victim being aware of it until it's too late.
Darrell W. Shoemaker | Communications Coordinator
T: 605.721.6686 | M: 605.939.8551