SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL
IN THE BOROUGH OF WEST CHESTER
During snow storms roads are salted and plowed in order of priority beginning with Snow Emergency routes, which are mainly state highways and major thoroughfares, as well as various hills in the Borough. At the beginning of a snow storm each truck operator proceeds to their designated area and applies salt on the Snow Emergency Routes and designated hills. The trucks then move on to minor roads and residential areas, and finally into the alleys, the municipal parking lots. The lots at the Borough Buildings are also cleared of snow, usually by front-end loaders brought in to supplement the plow vehicles. Seven snow plow trucks are normally dispatched for a routine snow storm; two are assigned to the Snow Emergency Routes, a truck is assigned to each of the four quadrants, and an additional truck is assigned to the upper decks of the parking garages.
Since 2004 the Public Works Department has adopted the use of a snow fighting technology known as anti-icing. What is Anti-Icing? It is a proactive approach to winter storm management that involves the application of a 23-percent brine (salt water) solution to speed up the melting process and prohibit the bond between the cold pavement and the snow accumulation on top. Two techniques are currently used; first, the direct application of brine on to the roads from the back of a distribution truck, approximately 24 hours before the snow event. This application places salt water right on the pavement and allows the salt to melt the accumulated snow long before the regular salting operation is underway. Next, several of the Borough's snow removal trucks have been outfitted with brine tanks that "pre-wet" the salt just before it is spread onto streets. This "pre-wetting" of the salt allows the melting action to begin immediately upon hitting the pavement surface, and the wet salt tends to "bite" into snow-covered roads instead of bouncing off into the gutter. Thus, less salt is needed and the reduced salt application is far more effective. Department personnel have experimented with application rates over the past winter seasons, and we've been able to make on-going improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the snow fighting operation through the use of brine.
MAJOR SNOW STORMS
In the event of a major snowstorm, or when such a storm is forecast, the Mayor may declare a Snow Emergency. According to Borough Ordinances, a Snow Emergency is declared when a snow accumulation of six inches or more is expected, or when extremely hazardous conditions exist, such as an ice storm. The declaration of a snow emergency prior to a storm allows the Borough to notify the local media and to warn residents to remove their cars from parking spaces on the Snow Emergency Routes to allow the Public Works Department to clear the street completely back to the curb. Residents are encouraged to use the municipal parking facilities during snow emergencies. Parking charges are waived at all surface parking lots during the Snow Emergency (parking garage fees remain in effect however). Parking is once again permitted on Snow Emergency Routes only after the snowfall has stopped, the plowing operation is complete, and the Mayor has lifted the snow emergency.
CLICK HERE to see a map of the Borough's Snow Emergency Routes.
Borough Ordinances also automatically prohibit parking along selected blocks of the Snow Emergency Route system, when snow accumulation reaches four (4) inches. These prohibited parking areas are:
Residents who live along these blocks should be alert for signs saying "SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTE - NO PARKING WHEN SNOW IS 4 INCHES DEEP". With this automatic parking restriction in place residents along these blocks will not be dependent upon the news media or calls to the Borough to learn the status of a Snow Emergency. If there is an accumulation of four (4) inches of snow or greater, vehicles must automatically be removed from the selected streets. In turn, these streets will quickly receive attention by snowplows and will be opened up first, allowing residents to return and park immediately after the Borough has plowed back to the curb.
- Church Street: west side, from Virginia Avenue to Rosedale Avenue
- Walnut Street: east side, from Rosedale Avenue to Virginia Avenue
- West Miner Street: north side, from High Street to Brandywine Street
RESTRICTED PARKING AREAS
Residents are reminded to pay close attention to all parking restrictions which may exist on your street. On the days following a snow storm, the Public Works Department follows along the "Street Sweeper Routes,' either 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM on selected days, or 2:00 AM to 5:00 AM on other days, and clears out all available parking spaces. The clearing of parking spaces in the residential areas is a very important part of the snow removal operation. We urge residents to cooperate and to remove their cars from the restricted parking areas, as the clearing of snow back to the curb is nearly impossible with the presence of illegally parked cars.
Residents are also encouraged to get together following a snow storm to clear a side of the street of parked vehicles and then call the Public Works Department at 610- 696-5282. A truck will be dispatched to clear that curb lane and residents can then return their vehicles.