Sixty percent of U.S. cities reported cuts to public works last year, at the same time that snowfall hit record highs in many areas. Keeping the streets clear for emergency vehicles will always be a top priority for city administrators, but making your driveway accessible will not be.
Lois Eberhart is the water resources administrator for the city of Minneapolis, where snow removal is serious business. "The most important thing is to shovel as the storm is going," she says. "Don’t wait until the storm passes, or else you are more likely to have ice build-up." Too much snow or ice could mean an increased risk of injury as you shovel. And avoid using salt as your go-to ice-melt system; after the snow melts, the salt in the runoff ends up in local waterways and can affect drinking water and harm wildlife.
If you find that your street is taking longer and longer to get plowed at all, organize a plowing pool with neighbors. Invest in a neighborhood snow blower that the block can take turns using to keep the street clear for emergencies.