Snow removal and winter survival

Residents have requested information about snow shoveling, what can typically be expected in terms of street and sidewalk cleaning, and how to avoid vehicle problems in the snow. Residents are urged to be careful when outdoors, and to be aware of the likelihood of slippery conditions.

Snow Removal by Staff

University Apartments staff begin plowing snow as soon as it can safely be started. This may mean plowing during the snowstorm, or after it has stopped.

The first priority for snow removal are the main roads through University Apartments. Next are entrances to parking lots, the walking route to school, followed by sidewalks and parking lots. In general, sidewalks and steps are not cleared until it stops snowing.

Many of our staff travel some distance to get here; so their arrival may be delayed by streets and highways that are not yet cleared of snow.

When the weather conditions involve a combination of freezing rain and snow, and snow falling for several days, it can take a number of days to clear roads, stairs, sidewalks, and parking lots. This is typical; as you travel throughout Madison this winter you will see how challenging snow removal is in the campus and downtown areas.

The “University Apartments Vehicles Only” parking spaces are used for snow piles as needed. (As a reminder, residents and visitors are never allowed to park in these stalls). When there is no more room in those designated staff stalls, then snow is piled into visitor spaces.

Please stay clear of snow plows! It is not safe to be near them when they are in operation.

Salt does not work in all weather conditions and its use has a direct impact on the environment. All runoff from University Apartments ends up in the lakes so we have to report all salt usage for the annual environmental impact report. We do use salt, but we try to balance the need with the impact.

We do not have staff scheduled to work weekends, but we do have on-call and call-back procedures for when winter weather is predicted. There are less staff available to do this work on weekends, so it generally takes longer to clear roads and sidewalks. Some of the secondary sidewalks and stairs may not be cleared until the next business day.

Snow removal by residents

When there is heavy snowfall, it is not possible for staff to remove all snow immediately.

Residents should expect to use care when walking.

Residents are responsible for removing snow from the entranceways to their apartments, and from their own parking stalls. In University Houses, in some places this includes the narrow pathway out to the main sidewalk.

When clearing snow from your car and stall, please be careful not to block other cars, shovel the snow into other parking stalls, or onto sidewalks. Snow should be piled away from the parking lot and off of any paved surfaces.

It is best if residents have their own shovels, especially during times of heavy snow when shovels are in high demand. There are a few shovels available at the Apartment Facilities Office and at the Community Center for residents to use. These shovels should all be returned as soon as possible so others can use them.

Sand can be sprinkled on slippery areas. Sand barrels are located throughout the complex. Use as needed on slippery spots. If you choose to use your own salt, please use sparingly to avoid excess runoff into the lakes.

Neighbors helping neighbors

It is very difficult for some people to remove snow. If you know of a neighbor who is having difficulty, perhaps you can offer to trade your shoveling for something they can do for you. There have been some people posting on bulletin boards and kiosks for snow shoveling for hire. Because we consider this to be a resident service, we do not discourage these efforts.

If your car gets stuck

Make certain your wheels are not turned to the side when you try to back up or go forward. The car will be easier to move if the wheels are pointed straight.

Remove as much snow as possible from around each wheel. Clear snow from the wheel tracks.

If the wheels are spinning, sprinkle sand in front of and behind all four wheels, where they meet the snow or ice.

Try to move the vehicle (even by an inch or two), and stop. Turn off the car, and secure the emergency brake for safety. Then sprinkle more sand around all four wheels, and repeat.

Unfortunately, for university liability reasons, staff are not allowed to help residents with stuck cars. Make sure you have cold weather gear in your car (hat, mittens, and scarf) in case you have to walk for assistance.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the University Apartments Office at 608-262-3407 or the Apartment Facilities Office at 608-262-2037.