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Public Works Department


Snow emergency basics

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’Tis the season for the white stuff. Yes, we’re talking snow. If enough falls in Bloomington, City staff calls a snow emergency. Once declared, a snow emergency remains in effect until streets have been plowed full width or for 48 hours, whichever happens first.

In the 2023 National Community Survey, 84% of respondents rated the City’s snow removal services as excellent or good, which is higher than the national average.

Parking bans during snow emergencies

Once the City calls a snow emergency, a parking ban is also in effect. A parking ban means all vehicles must be moved from city streets. By moving vehicles quickly once a snow emergency is declared, you can help avoid a vehicle covered in plowed snow and the possibility of being ticketed or towed.

Stay informed

The best thing to do is watch weather conditions and stay up to date on snow emergencies by signing up for alerts at or by following the City’s Facebook page and X (Twitter) feed.

Safe streets, lakes and streams

The City treats roads with an anti-icing brine solution to make it more difficult for snow and ice to stick. The brine is a mixture of water and salt. After it is sprayed on the streets, the solution evaporates and leaves behind thin deposits of salt. The salt prevents the bonding of snow and ice so plows can more easily scrape the street clean. The brine reduces the amount of salt required to clear streets. This treatment protects the surrounding bodies of water from excess salt runoff in the spring.

Wait to clear your driveway

Clear the end of your driveway after the full width of your street has been plowed so you only have to shovel once. While clearing streets, snowplows may inadvertently push snow from the road into driveways that have already been shoveled.

Keep sidewalks clear

Keeping your sidewalk clear of snow and ice makes walking around Bloomington safer for pedestrians. The City asks that residents and business owners keep their sidewalks free of all snow whether it’s fallen snow or snow that may be moved onto the sidewalk during street or driveway snow removal efforts. It’s illegal for any vehicle to block a public sidewalk.

Shovel out fire hydrants, mailboxes and garbage bins

Help protect your neighborhood from house fires. Accessible hydrants lessen the time it takes firefighters to extinguish a fire. Keep your mailbox clear of snow. Mailboxes should not extend past the curb and should have sturdy four-by-four timber posts. The bottoms of mailboxes should be no less than 45 inches off the ground and located on the left side of your driveway. If it snows on or near garbage collection day, keep garbage and recycling bins behind the curb and away from the end of the driveway. Place containers off sidewalks to leave room for plows.

Place carts for winter

This winter, think about where you put your garbage and recycling carts. If the weather gets snowy or icy, shovel out a safe, accessible space and path for your carts so haulers can access your cart. Be sure to place your carts a minimum of three to five feet from other carts, mailboxes, vehicles, bushes, trees and other objects. Keep carts off sidewalks and out of the street. Visit for more information.