Snow Ordinance and Removal

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[*Please do not call 911 to inquire about the snow ordinance.]


SNOW AND ICE CONTROL POLICY.  The purpose of the City of Ames Snow and Ice Policy is to provide direction and standards on maintaining the City's transportation network during snow and ice events. The intent is to provide safe and efficient movement of the traveling public and emergency response vehicles.

SNOW ROUTE.  Signs along the snow route remind you to keep an eye on the sky if you park on a CyRide route. These signs are in addition to our traditional snow route reminders. We put the snow ordinance into effect when we need to plow snow and we ask drivers to remove their vehicles so we can clear the streets as completely as possible.

SNOW ORDINANCE.  How do you know if the snow ordinance is in effect? The snow ordinance is a municipal law designed to facilitate the snow removal process. Any time the snow accumulation reaches two inches on the main City streets (Lincoln Way, Grand Avenue, Duff Avenue and lots of others), be prepared to move your vehicle if you have parked along a snow route! During the snow removal process, please do not park on the snow routes until the snow has stopped falling and the street is plowed from curb to curb.

When the snow ordinance is put into effect, it will be posted on the City's website and on TV Channel 12 (Government Access Television) as soon as possible. You may also listen to: KASI - 1430 AM or KCCQ -105.1 FM. We also give this information to the Des Moines TV stations, 5, 8 and 13 to include in their scrolls.

For more information, click here to be redirected to Chapter 22 in the Municipal Code regarding Streets and Sidewalks.

SNOW PLOWING.  The goal of the Operations Division is to have the snow routes opened by either 7:00 AM or 5:00 PM, depending on the severity and time of the storm. All streets should be plowed within 16 hours after a storm ends. If you have questions about the snow removal process or wish to report street plowing concerns, including damage to a mailbox, please e-mail snowstreets@city.ames.ia.us, or call the Snow Desk at 515-239-5543 with the address/location and specific nature of the street concern.

Plowing Priorities

  • Residential Streets
  • Designated snow routes and arterial streets
  • Parking lots, sidewalks, and some bike paths
  • Alleys (may be plowed the day after a snow storm)

Ice Control Policy  The Operations Division uses ice control materials at controlled intersections, hills and curves. They use ice control measures at other intersections only if the condition warrants. New concrete streets will be treated only with sand for the first year; these streets will be marked with "No Salt" signs.

TOWING.  When the snow ordinance goes into effect, vehicles parked on a snow route may be ticketed and/or towed immediately, without waiting for a ticket to be issued. If you are towed, you will need to contact Central Iowa Towing, 310 Sondroll Avenue, at 515-290-4188 to get it back. Towing of cars, pickups, vans, and medium duty trucks within the City limits at all hours of all days is $28, plus a $5 daily storage fee. You may also receive a parking ticket for the snow ordinance violation. Vehicles parked on streets that are not designated snow routes may also be ticketed if they have not been moved within 48 hours after a snowfall. Failure to remove cars from plowing routes leads to snow and ice that is difficult to remove and may cause a hazard for traffic.

Appealing a Tow/Ticket  If you believe your car has been towed unjustly, you may appeal the process. 

  1. Contact the Ames Police Department at 515-239-5130.

  2. If the Police Department denies your request, you may contact the City Attorney’s Office at 515-239-5146.

  3. If you wish to take the appeal further, file a request for a trial at the Clerk of Court Office in City Hall. The case will be heard in the District Associate Court in City Hall. There is a charge to file, and if you do not win the case you must pay court costs and witness fees.

SNOW ON SIDEWALKS.  Property owners or tenants have 10 daylight hours from the last snow accumulation in which to clear their sidewalks. If it snows again before the 10 hours expire, we will still post notices on older snow/ice accumulation. Sidewalks need to be cleared to a four-foot wide surface.

  • When a covered walk is reported, the walk is inspected and posted with a 24-hour notice to clean the walk. If it is not cleared within 24 hours, the Operations Division will clear the walk and the property owner will be charged the actual cost of removal plus a $50 administrative fee. The average fee is $90-$150.
  • Plows will clear streets in business districts on consecutive evenings after a snowstorm. This allows time for merchants to shovel snow off sidewalks into the street after it has been plowed to eliminate hazards for the public.

To report a snow or ice covered sidewalk, please e-mail snowwalks@city.ames.ia.us, or leave a message on the City's dedicated Snow Walks hotline, 515-239-5468, with the address of the covered walk.