The NYC Department of Sanitation keeps our City healthy, safe and clean by quickly and effectively clearing snow and ice from our highways and streets. The nature of the storm determines how challenging this is: Persistent or heavy snowfall coupled with falling temperatures and high winds complicate the cleaning process for our teams.
Report Snow Or Ice
Call 311 to report snow or ice inside a bus shelter or in front of a public school or police station.
Examples of Snow Complaints Accepted by 311
When snowfall is anticipated, DSNY issues a snow alert, positions its fleet of salt spreaders and plows for deployment, and coordinates with the NYC Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation and other agencies on storm-response preparations.
To stay safe and informed during snow alerts, visit NYC Severe Weather, and follow the OEM’s winter health and safety tips.
Snow + Ice On Sidewalks - Removal and Timing
Residents, property owners and business owners are responsible for keeping the public areas surrounding their buildings safe after a winter storm. For example, it’s important to clear the corner area to allow access to the crosswalk, remove snow and ice from catch basins and disburse puddles.
Residents and businesses must:
Snow and ice must be cleared from sidewalks within these specific timeframes:
Snowfall Ends between 7am and 4:59pm: Clear within 4 hours
Snowfall Ends between 5pm and 8:59pm: Clear within 14 hours
Snowfall Ends between 9pm and 6:59am: Clear sidewalks by 11am
For example, if the snow stops falling at 7pm, the sidewalk must be cleared by 9am the next morning.
You can file a complaint if sidewalks remain snowy or icy after a reasonable amount of time.
Temporary Snow-Removal Employment Opportunities
Each October, DSNY recruits temporary, per diem snow laborers. These workers are called on after heavy snowfalls to remove snow and ice Citywide from areas like bus stops, crosswalks and fire hydrants. Pay starts at $12 per hour and increases to $18 per hour after the first 40 hours. To be eligible, applicants must be:
To register, workers must have:
Bring the photos, IDs (and copies) and Social Security card to any local DSNY district garage weekdays between 7am and 3pm or to the following NYC Department of Transportation locations, Monday through Friday, between 9am and 3pm:
Flatbush Yard 2900 Flatbush Ave. Brooklyn, NY
Bronx Yard Mosholu Ave. and Broadway (Van Cortlandt Park) Bronx, NY
Kew Loop Yard 78-88 Park Drive East Queens, NY
Harper Street Yard 32-11 Harper Street Queens, NY
Help elderly, sick and disabled residents by volunteering to do snow removal for them. NYC Service helps local non-profit organizations, civic organizations and community groups maintain lists of volunteers.
Private Snow Removal Contractor Bids
Private contractors interested in assisting the City with plowing and snow hauling during storms can place a competitive bid for a contract with the City. Contractors plow or haul snow on an as-needed basis when six or more inches of snow is forecast. Tow truck companies interested in assisting the City with removing abandoned cars from streets during snow storms can also place competitive bids.
DSNY Snow Removal Strategies
New Yorkers see DSNY spreading salt and plowing, piling, hauling and melting snow – but snow response is a year-round process; we plan and organize months before winter weather conditions strike, and begin evaluating our productivity, success and strategies for improvement during storms and continue when spring arrives.
Each fall, DSNY holds meetings internally to synchronize operations, discuss snow staffing and plan snow-drill exercises. DSNY also works with other City agencies to coordinate resources. In the months before the snow season begins, DSNY ensures that it has adequate equipment, parts and supplies to carry out the snow plan. Sanitation workers are trained for winter operations every year from September through December. Trainees learn plowing techniques and how to operate spreaders, attach plows and chains, use two-way radios. Plus, they review best practices on all aspects of snow operations.
Typically, DSNY puts its snow-removal plan into effect mid-November through early April. During these months, DSNY is prepared to clear and remove snow around the clock.
Forecast and Preparation DSNY monitors weather forecasts and, when needed, issues a snow advisory to the media and posts it on the NYC Office of Emergency Management Severe Weather website Before the storm, DSNY prepares equipment. This may include loading spreaders with salt and calcium chloride and attaching plows and chains, based on the type and amount of precipitation forecasted. Weather conditions are monitored hourly at DSNY’s 21 field weather stations.
Salting and Plowing At the first trace of snow or frozen precipitation, salt spreaders begin dispensing salt on roadways. Plowing operations begin when snowfall exceeds two inches. Plowing clears snow from roadways and moves it out of the path of moving traffic (plow blades are fixed to the right to avoid blocking oncoming traffic and keep intersections clear). Plows must follow designated routes in the proper order, or they may miss some street segments. As a result, plows cannot be diverted from routes to resolve customer complaints until after snow has stopped falling and assigned roadways are clear. After streets have been addressed, municipal parking lots, bike lanes, and pedestrian infrastructure are also cleared of snow. Snow is always plowed to the right side of the street because the same trucks must plow both one-way and two-way streets. Once the plows are mounted on trucks they cannot be shifted from one direction to the other.
Situational Awareness Throughout the storm, DSNY monitors operations using a range of technologies and channels of communication, particularly, plow and spreader asset tracking via GPS units, two way radio communications of live field condition reports, and live feed DOT and other City network camera monitoring. During the storm DSNY is in constant contact with the NYC Office Emergency Management and other agencies to coordinate resources.
Sectoring Recently, the Department instituted sectoring as part of its response, a strategy implemented during and after a snowfall – and this successful pilot program will be expanded in the 2015 – 2016 winter season. Instead of just prioritizing streets as primary, secondary and tertiary streets, sectoring has just two distinctions: Critical and Sector. Critical routes – much like primary routes – are the most essential routes for New Yorkers’ health and safety. Sector routes incorporate all non-Critical street segments into a series of condensed routes that are designed to maximize roadway coverage. There are currently 18 Community Districts involved in the Sectoring Initiative:
Manhattan CB’s 1-12
Staten Island CB’s 1-3
Bronx CB 6
Brooklyn CB 8
Queens CB 6
Spring and SummerIn spring and summer, DSNY staff review the City's approximately 3,000 snow-plowing routes and adjust them based on the prior year’s experiences and changes, such as new construction. DSNY also does preventative maintenance on all snow equipment, as needed. At the end of each winter season, DSNY reviews and assesses its response to all winter storms during the previous season, and makes any needed operational changes and adjustments, such as improving equipment training and improving communications between snow removal equipment and supervisory personnel.
Snow Plans by Borough
Equipment + Personnel by Borough