Public Works - Snow Removal

Public Works Department Snow & Obstruction Removal Ordinance Summary
Ordinance no. 13-96 (December 16 1996

OBSTRUCTION OF SIDEWALKS AND STREETS PROHIBITED
It shall be unlawful for any person to stand or place, or to cause to be stood or placed, any boxes, barrels, lumber, brick, stone, sand, gravel, goods, merchandise, wares, garbage, rubbish, debris, or material of any kind or description, on or over any street or sidewalk. This includes snow and grass clippings.

Removal of snow and ice from sidewalks and fire hydrants required
It shall be the duty of all persons owning, controlling or occupying any property abutting, adjoining or fronting any sidewalk to remove snow, sleet, hail or ice therefrom within twenty-four (24) hours after the same has ceased to fall or accumulate thereon. It shall be unlawful for any person owning, controlling, or occupying property abutting, adjoining or fronting any sidewalk to suffer, allow, or permit any snow, sleet, hail or ice to accumulate or remain on such sidewalk for a period longer than twenty-four (24) hours after the same has ceased to fall or accumulate thereon, or after the same has been deposited thereon in any manner.

In addition, it shall be the responsibility of the home owner to clear around fire hydrants. These measures are for the safety of the public as well as that of the property owner.

Driveway Plowing Policies
The snow which is in front of a plow will unload whenever it passes a cleared area.
This is why snow is left in a clean driveway as the street is plowed. If you must clean your driveway prior to the completion of our plowing, there are two strategies you can try to alleviate double shoveling. If you leave the first five (5) feet of your driveway (closest to the street) un-shoveled until we are finished, you will only have to shovel this section once. Also, a cleared area on the side of the driveway from which the truck will approach, provides an area for the snow to unload from the plow before it reaches your driveway. However, this area must be AT LEAST 10 feet long and 4 to 5 feet wide, depending on the amount of snow that has fallen. This area must also be off the side of the street in order to be affective.

The following sketch shows you how:



DEPOSIT OF SNOW AND ICE ON SIDEWALKS STREETS, AND TOWNSHIP PROPERTY
It shall be unlawful for any person to plow, shovel, throw, cast, or otherwise place or deposit, or cause to be placed or deposited, in or onto any sidewalk, street or Township Property any snow, sleet, hail, or ice for any purpose including, but not limited to, for the purpose of clearing parking lots, driveways, driveway entrances, or sidewalks.

NOTICE TO REMOVE
Any person who violates any provision of this Ordinance may be given notice by the Township of Bethlehem directing compliance herewith and in the event such person fails to comply with said notice, the Township may take such action as may be necessary to cure such failure and the costs thereof may be recovered from such person in the manner provided for by law. These remedial costs shall be recoverable in addition to and not in lieu of any penalty provided herein or by other law.

PENALTY
Fine - Up to $300.00 plus court costs, or up to 90 days in jail.


Snow Emergency - SAFETY FIRST!

Our first responsibility during a snow event is to keep designated Snow Emergency Routes and streets outside of developments open to allow for the safe passage of emergency vehicles and school buses.

Declaration of Snow Emergency:
In order to facilitate the movement of traffic and to combat the hazards of snow and/or ice the snow emergency routes designated in Ordinance 6-94 of the Codified Township Code of Ordinances, Chapter 252, Article VII, §252-45, authorize the Township Manager or Chief of Police, upon their discretion to declare a snow emergency. The public in notified of snow emergency declaration through various media outlets, including but not limited to; television, radio, local newspapers, the Bethlehem Township Nixle® notification service and any other available media and information service available. Declaration termination or modifications are provided using the same sources.

If a snow emergency is declared it is mandatory that all vehicles be moved from ALL STREETS designated as Snow Emergency Routes. Anyone found in violation of the aforementioned Ordinance is subject up to $150 in fines per incident. Vehicles in violation will also be towed, and all applicable towing charges will be the responsibility of the vehicle owner. These fees are payable directly to the towing service.

Plowing Policy and Practice:
Public Works routinely begins plowing when approximately 3" of snow has accumulated. As long as snow is still falling, the snow emergency routes remain our first priority. We endeavor to maintain two (2) lanes of travel at all times. After these streets are cleared, crews will begin clearing secondary residential access streets and minor back roads. These roads are still considered by the Federal Highway Administration as "mobility" and provide local traffic movement. However, Cul-de-sacs and dead end streets are classified as "assessable", although important to us for your safety, they are not local or secondary streets, they provide passage to only those living at that specific location. These areas will be plowed once the "mobility" streets have been fully opened.

Our policy is to plow curb to curb using steel blades for maximum clearing. The clearing process may take several return trips to your neighborhood depending upon the severity of the snow and obstructions located on your street, such as parked cars. Please keep in mind that it is almost impossible to keep snow from being deposited into your driveway during plowing. Plows can not be elevated or stopped at each driveway encountered.

We will do our best to keep school bus stops as clear as possible. During heavy snow events it may be difficult to remove all of the snow from these areas. We work closely with the Bethlehem Area School District Transportation Division regarding bus stop safety.

Note: Trucks while plowing attempt to maintain speeds of no more than 20 MPH. The force of snow being thrown from a plow at this speed creates the illusion that the vehicle is moving at a much fast rate of speed.

The Township will pretreat certain designated streets as necessary prior to a snow fall event. Salting begins immediately and continues until all streets are completed or until the use of salt is no longer effective. The more traffic there is on a road, the more effective the salt will be. Salt is typically less effective when temperatures fall below 26 degrees. Once plowing begins the salting process is limited to severe grades and sharp curves. After all clearing is completed the use of salt is deployed on an as needed basis.

Bethlehem Township does not plow state roads, private roads, driveways, apartment complexes, private condominiums or manufactured home communities.

Exercise Patience:
Snow removal is a tedious and time-consuming process. Bethlehem Township consists of over 100 miles of roadways and our crew's work many hours under very adverse conditions to keep you safe. Travel should be limited during a snowfall and immediately after, unless absolutely necessary.

With less traffic on streets the snow removal process can be accomplished in a timely and efficient manner. Please refrain from calling to ask about your street, we will get to every location as quickly as possible. If there is a serious hazard present or someone is at risk that needs medical, fire, or police assistance, immediately call 911. Remember when crews are diverted from their normal routes it can slow the overall effort. If a call does warrant immediate attention the necessary equipment will be dispatched.

Wait to shovel! As we clean your street we have no place to push snow except to the curb line. Be advised that if you clean your driveway, sidewalk, or mailbox area before we have completed there is a high probability you will need to clear those areas again. Unfortunately this is an unavoidable result in the process, so please save yourself the aggravation and wait until we have made our final pass.

Remember, a friendly smile or wave means a lot to our crews who work tirelessly to ensure your safety.

View Snow Emergency Streets

View Snow Emergency Routes



Bethlehem Township
4225 Easton Avenue
Bethlehem, Pa. 18020
Phone: 610-814-6400
Fax: 610-814-6408
return to top