During the 2016-17 winter season, City of Columbia Public Works began studying the feasibility of adding a small number of streets to the City’s priority snow routes. A list of 13 streets were identified as "optimization routes" to enhance Designated Snow Routes.
Beginning this winter, the City Council has approved expanding this pilot program by an additional 50 lane miles consisting of sections of 195 streets. These additional 50 lane miles will be referred to as "Third Priority" snow routes. The purpose of expanding this pilot program is to measure the impact, if any, on the current budget, supplies and response times when adding a number of streets that serve as extensions or connectors or improve access to existing priority routes. The additional lane miles also serve to extend the network of priority routes as closely as possible to all residential streets. The additional streets will bring the total priority routes up to approximately 520 lane miles.
Third Priority snow routes, however, will not be official Designated Snow Routes this year and are therefore not subject to parking enforcement or towing during a 2-inch snow event. First and Second priority routes, or Designated Snow Routes, are clearly marked with red, white and blue signs. If snow accumulates to 2 inches or more, parking is prohibited by City ordinance and could result in towing and a fine of $100.
"We will encourage motorists to avoid parking on Third Priority routes but we will not do any 2-inch snow enforcement on Third Priorities," Engineering and Operations Manager Richard Stone said.
The timing of operational response to Third Priority routes will be determined by the City’s operations team on an event-by-event basis, Stone says. The objective will be to find ways to integrate these routes as seamlessly as possible while keeping in mind the reality that every Missouri winter weather event is different.
"During some types of winter weather, crews may be able to do First, Second and Third Priority routes more or less simultaneously," Stone said. "In other events, such as larger events in which weather conditions are changing rapidly, crews may need to stay focused on First and/or Second Priority routes before moving on to Third Priority routes."
Complete details about the City’s winter weather response plan, including a list of new Third Priority snow routes, are available online at CoMoSnow.com.