Plowing and spreading of salt to treat icy road conditions will be undertaken in order of strategic priority as follows:

Primary – Any street that is:

  1. A main traffic artery, main thoroughfare or a lifeline street such as highways,

expressways, drives or bridges;FY 15 BOROUGH SNOW PLAN

  1. A feeder approach to and exits from bridges, tunnels, ferries, highways, airports;
  2. A bus route;
  3. A street used to access facilities such as FDNY fire houses and EMS stations,

NYPD police stations, hospitals, nursing homes, newspaper plants, fuel

distribution depots, transportation terminals, schools, and universal prekindergarten

facilities; and/or

  1. Within concentrated food-produce, industrial, financial, theatrical-amusement,

shopping, hospital or maritime (passenger and freight) areas.


Secondary – Any street that is:

  1. Reasonably heavily trafficked but not a primary street;
  • Used as an alternate route for a primary street; and/or
  • A short residential street that feed into primary streets.

  • Tertiary – All other streets not heavily trafficked and not primary or secondary streets,

    including, but not limited to dead-end streets.

    When viewing the PlowNYC map found at all roadways will

    display the three classes of routes Primary, Secondary and Tertiary regardless of a

    districts participation in the pilot program.



    For a full list of equipment and personnel assigned to each district, see Appendices A

    and B.



    The following is a step-by-step overview of how DSNY fights an impending snowstorm.

    A. Forecast and Preparation

    DSNY’s Operations Office monitors the weather forecasts through the contracted weather reporting services 24/7. The following three services will be contracted for the

    2014-2015 Snow Season: Accu Weather, Compu Weather, and Metro Weather.

    When a risk of snow is indicated by the forecast, the Bureau Operations Chief will brief the Commissioner, First Deputy Commissioner and Bureau Director. At this stage the First Deputy Commissioner will consider the need to activate personnel for snow response. If the forecasted amount of frozen precipitation would result in the need to deploy plows, personnel are re-scheduled into two 12 hour shifts (normally 0700 hrs –1900 hrs and 1900 hrs – 0700 hrs). During these situations, regularly scheduled days off for Sanitation Workers and Uniformed Officers are cancelled to ensure maximum personnel availability. DSNY formulates staffing needs 24 hours in advance of snowfall based on weather forecasts and other factors.FY 15 BOROUGH SNOW PLAN

    After an assessment is made as to the necessary action, DSNY will issue a “Snow Alert” informing Department personnel, the Mayor’s Office, and other City agencies of a pending snow event. In addition to receiving the snow alert, DEP, DOT and DPR may be notified of the need for their resources to address the pending snowfall if forecasts warrant. (See Section VI-D for City agency responsibilities).

    DSNY’s Bureau of Public Affairs will issue a ‘”snow alert declaration” to all media and the public via a news advisory and all social media channels. Such advisories will also be posted on OEM’s New York City’s Severe Weather page, available at: Subsequent weather forecasts are monitored, and DSNY’s Operations Office maintains ongoing communication with contracted weather forecasting services.

    Before the storm, Department staff prepares equipment to begin snow fighting operations. This may include loading spreaders with salt and calcium chloride, attaching plows to spreader equipment and vehicles used for plowing, and attaching chains to spreaders and vehicles used for plowing, based on precipitation type and the amount of precipitation forecasted. Based on forecasted conditions, vendors with which DSNY

    has entered into requirements contracts may be contacted to prepare for plowing of tertiary streets and/or piling and hauling.

    In the hours prior to snowfall, weather condition reports are submitted hourly from the DSNY’s twenty one field weather stations located at DSNY facilities. Salt spreaders are equipped and pre-positioned to begin operations at the first trace of precipitation.

    B. Salting and Plowing Operations

    At the first trace of snow or frozen precipitation, salt spreaders begin dispensing salt on roadways. Spreaders are DSNY’s first line of defense against snow and ice conditions.

    Large spreaders have plows attached and have the capacity to hold approximately 16 tons of salt. Spreaders are equipped with tanks of liquid calcium chloride for pre-wetting salt to enable the melting of snow and ice at lower temperatures. Each spreader can hold up to 180 gallons of liquid calcium chloride.

    Plowing operations begin when snowfall exceeds two inches. Plowing clears snow from the roadways, moving it out of the way 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 their 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.

    DSNY also deploys specialized equipment as needed to meet local conditions. Vplows are deployed to areas where drifting or considerable accumulations of snow have made plowing too difficult for truck plows alone. Utility haulsters are small spreaders with plows attached for treating areas with limited accessibility. These FY 15 BOROUGH SNOW PLAN spreaders can hold approximately 2 tons of salt. Front end loaders are used for salt loading, snow plowing in narrow streets, and snow hauling operations.

    If snow accumulation is forecasted for six or more inches, DSNY may activate tertiary Plowing Requirement Contract vendors (see Appendix G) to report and assist with DSNY plowing operations. Once notified, these contractors are required to respond with plow equipment within eight hours. In addition, the Department may activate emergency hired equipment contracts as needed.


    Read more: Snow Plans and Mapping.