Cambridge city views: what to know before the first snowfall | Columns


Tsnowy weather is coming, like it or not. The threat of this weather always triggers a number of questions regarding the city’s rules regarding the removal of snow that has just fallen on your sidewalk or driveway. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. For a complete list of ordinances regarding snow and ice control requirements within City limits, please access the City’s website at, Or call Public Works at 763-689-1800 .

What happens when it starts to snow?

Crews monitor conditions and apply salt and sand to intersections and bridge decks as needed. Once the snow depth approaches a depth of 3 inches or more, the streets are plowed and again salted and sanded.

Why do some streets receive more attention than others?

Some streets have been designated as emergency snow roads. These streets are important because they provide a route to and from critical places in the city: hospital, schools, shops and neighborhoods.

Why are they plowing my closed driveway after I’ve cleaned it up?

Crews plow 61 miles of streets and each plowing event takes an average of 5 hours to plow from sidewalk to sidewalk. The timing of the snowfall does not always allow staff to complete snow removal before the aisles are clear.

Why can’t I park on the street at night?

Overnight parking restrictions are in place each winter. No resident is allowed to park on a city street between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. from November 1 to March 30. Regulations have been put in place to facilitate snow removal and allow the safe passage of emergency response vehicles.

Am I responsible for keeping my sidewalk shoveled?

If you are in “downtown” – downtown limits are set on the city website – owners and occupants are required to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk adjacent to the property by 9:00 am 30 from Monday to Saturday and must be collected by 10:00 am on the same day. City staff will periodically remove snow and ice from downtown sidewalks, but only when quantities exceed 3 inches in depth.

Snow and ice should be removed at least every 4 hours or when the accumulation reaches 1 inch between the following hours, From Monday to Friday:

From 8:00 a.m. or when the business opens (whichever comes first).

• From 6:00 p.m. or when the business closes (whichever is later).


• From 8:00 am or when the business opens (whichever comes first).

• From noon or when the business closes (whichever is later).

If you are located in the Sidewalk Improvement District, City of Cambridge staff will remove snow and ice that have fallen and accumulate on the sidewalks. The list of sidewalks cleared by City of Cambridge staff can be found on the City’s website.

If you are not located in the downtown or sidewalk improvement district, snow and ice that has fallen or accumulated must be removed within 48 hours by the owner or tenant of the property which adjoins the sidewalk.

Am I responsible for keeping the fire hydrant in front of my house cleared of snow?

City staff periodically clear snow in front of hydrants, but the fire department would appreciate any help from homeowners. The city’s water system contains 675 fire hydrants, all of which are very important to the fire department. The fire hydrant closest to your residence will be used if you or one of your neighbors has a fire. The ability to access this fire hydrant in the event of a fire is very important. If each resident clears snow from a nearby fire hydrant, this would ensure that each fire hydrant is accessible if needed.

Can I drive my snowmobile or ATV on city streets?

Residents are permitted to drive on city streets to enter or exit city limits, or to access a designated snowmobile / ATV trail. The operator is required to drive as close as possible to the curb or straight edge of the road. The operator is not authorized to use sidewalks, boulevards or any other path intended for pedestrian travel.

TODD ​​SCHWAB is the director of public works / utilities for the city of Cambridge. He can be contacted at 763-689-1800 or [email protected]

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