County Reminds Residents Of Winter Sidewalk Guidelines

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During the winter months, Los Alamos County would like to remind residents that it is important to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice so that they remain pass­able for postal workers, children walking to school and others who need to use them. When possible, and depend­ing upon available resources, County crews will conduct sidewalk-clearing operations by removing snow first from the adopted “safe routes to school” and then move to other selected sidewalks. The County does not clear every sidewalk due to limited resources.  Sidewalk priorities are listed below:

  1. Safe routes to school and heavy pedestrian areas where sidewalks are adjacent to primary arterials and the Central Avenue business district
  2. Public walkways for which the County is responsible
  3. Pathway along SR 4 in White Rock
  4. Ramps & steps at the Golf Course tunnel (cleared by Golf Course personnel)
  5. Steps at the tunnel at the Roundabout
  6. Sidewalk areas around bus shelters that require hand cleaning

The County’s complete Snow and Ice Control Plan with detailed listings of the sidewalks which are prioritized for clearing can be found on the County’s website at:

Unless significant accumulations are encountered (greater than 6 inches), residents are encouraged to wait until after the snowfall has ceased. If snowfalls are greater than 6 inches, residents are requested to periodically clear sidewalks around their property to allow for safe passage of pedestrians. Where practical, property owner should clear sidewalks within 24 hours after the snowfall ceases. In most areas it is to be expected that plowing operations will deposit snow in driveways and on sidewalks. These will be cleared only after emergency response has ended and mop up operations have begun.

In addition, if there is a drainage structure in front of or near the resident’s property, residents can assist crews by clearing it to allow snow melt to reach the structure and avoid ponding in the area. Ponded water can re-freeze and cause hazardous conditions.

The following suggestions are offered in the spirit of working together with the public, to simplify all snow and ice control efforts:

  • Place shoveled snow on the backside of the sidewalk. Direct the chutes of snow blowers and shovel snow toward lawn areas whenever possible, rather than toward the street.  This will provide lawns with addi­tional moisture and prevent that same snow from being plowed back onto surfaces previously cleared by residents. If shoveled snow is placed in the street after the plow has made its initial pass, the snow will not be removed until the mop-up efforts begin.
  • Park cars in off-street parking areas whenever possible. This allows for easier access by the snow plow operators and a more consistent and comprehensive snow clearing effort.
  • If it is necessary to park on the street, don’t park vehicles over storm drain inlets. This slows the drainage process and causes ice buildup, creating potentially hazardous driving conditions.
  • Place a mixture of sand and salt on sidewalks with persistent ice.

Residents with questions are asked to call the County’s Traffic & Streets Division at 662-8113 or email us at