Important facts and safety tips to ensure everyone enjoys a safe winter season.
I. Winter Road Maintenance
All public roads throughout Pittsfield Charter Township fall under the jurisdiction of the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC). In Pittsfield Charter Township, WCRC is responsible for winter maintenance on county primary and local paved roads, subdivision streets, as well as soft-surface (gravel) roads. Winter maintenance activities include applying salt and sand, as well as plowing snow on roadways and shoulders 1.
The Road Commission performs its winter maintenance in accordance with the Winter Maintenance Guidelines approved annually by the Board of County Road Commissioners, with the highest priority being given to State Trunklines and high traffic volume roads. The policy states that primary roads are first priority; these include the highly traveled State Trunklines, such as I-94, US-23, M-14, etc., as well as other primary and collector roads. The second and third priority roads to be cleared are the high to medium-volume paved local roads. Priority four is subdivision streets, and the fifth is unpaved (soft-surface/gravel) roads.
Since many Pittsfield residents live on subdivision roads, the township often receives questions as to why their streets are not being cleared in a timelier manner. According to the WCRC, public safety dictates which roads will be cleared first. Keeping the majority of the motoring public in mind, the agency focuses first and foremost on clearing the high-volume/high-speed roadways, which support emergency vehicles, as well as commerce and deliveries to regional and local businesses. In that subdivision streets and gravel roads carry less traffic, snow removal is addressed only after the top, first three priorities are completed.
Moreover, due to limited resources, the WCRC does not perform winter maintenance on any subdivision or soft-surface roads on an overtime basis unless:
at least four inches of snow has fallen;
an ice storm occurs; and/or
blowing and drifting snow occurs that interferes with vehicular travel
The WCRC can be contacted at: (734) 761-1500; www.wcroads.org.
I(A) Remove Vehicles from Curbsides
During snow events that require the use of snowplows, residents should take heed to remove any vehicles from curbside parking to allow for safe and effective snow plowing. This is especially critical on subdivision streets, where parking on the street is a common practice. Residents should be advised that when a “snow emergency” occurs, vehicles illegally parked may be ticketed or towed at the owner’s expense.
I(B) Rubbish/Recycling Cart Placement Guidelines
In order to assist the WCRC’s snow removal procedures, residents are asked to place their waste and/or recycling cart(s) in a location that will not interfere with snowplowing operations. Carts should be placed near the street, but not directly in the street. This will allow snowplows to remove the maximum amount of snow and ice from the street. Also remember to properly secure trash containers. Residents are asked to not place carts behind or near any stationary objects such as cars, trees, mailboxes, light poles, etc.
I(C) Tips for Property Owners
Don’t plow snow across the road or shovel snow from your driveway onto shoulders or into the roadway
Don’t pile snow high near intersections or driveways obstructing the vision of others and the motoring public
Park vehicles away from the road and follow local parking ordinances related to snow removal
Keep rocks, timbers, fences, basketball hoops, garbage bins, reflectors, and other items away from the road
Keep areas around mailboxes clear in order to assist in safe mail delivery and to help prevent damage to mailboxes
Maintain clearance at the end of your driveway; this could decrease chances of getting plowed in, or having mailbox damage
II. Sidewalk Maintenance
Per Pittsfield Charter Township’s Ordinance #294, Article II – Sidewalks, the Township would also like to remind residents that the removal of snow/ice on public sidewalks, walks, and ramps leading to crosswalks in front of a property is the responsibility of the property owner/tenant.
The Ordinance requires that a snow accumulation of greater than one-inch (1”) must be cleared from sidewalks within 24 hours at the end of a snow event. This encompasses the entire constructed width and length of the sidewalk, including walks and ramps leading to a crosswalk in front of the owner/tenant’s property. Additionally, if there is a build-up of ice, it is to be removed by and/or at the expense of the property owner/tenant. Residents should also be aware that the term “accumulation” is considered to be and can occur from any source, including, but not limited to, precipitation and drifting.
To obtain a copy of the Ordinance #294, Article II – Sidewalks or for additional information, please contact Pittsfield Township’s Department of Utilities & Municipal Services at: (734) 822-3130.
1 Winter road maintenance on private roads, privately-owned properties, and schools do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Washtenaw County Road Commission or Pittsfield Charter Township.