Ultimate Guide to Chicago Snow Removal in 2020
A recent conversation with a newly hired property manager brought to light a few things: 1. There’s a lot of misinformation about snow plowing services, laws, and regulations. 2. Chicago has many ordinances but they are usually very confusing. We are writing this blog in hopes of clearing up a few common misunderstandings.
Chicago Snow Removal Laws To Know in 2020
We’ve compiled a list of the most asked questions when it comes to Chicago Snow Removal Ordinances to help clear the air.
1. Whose responsibility is it to clear sidewalks of snow?
Chicago’s Municipal Code, specifically Section 10-8-180 states that every “owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or other person in charge of any building . . . abutting upon any public way or public place shall . . . remove any snow and ice from any sidewalk . . .” Basically, the Chicago snow removal law states that landlords, property managers, home and business owners have a legal duty to remove the snow and ice from public sidewalks that surround their properties. For apartment buildings, businesses or parking lots on corners of an intersection their responsibility includes both sides of the sidewalk.
2. How much snow accumulation and ice must I remove?
According to the Chicago City Website: “You must clear a path at least 5 feet wide on all of the sidewalks adjacent to your property, including any crosswalk ramps. You may not shovel the snow into the right-of-way, which includes: transit stops and bus pads, parking spaces, bike lanes, bike racks, Divvy stations, and any other space where snow impedes traffic of any kind.” This width allows for pedestrians in wheelchairs, families with children in strollers, students, and individuals with ADA compliant devices the ability to walk down the sidewalk.
3. Where can I put shoveled snow without getting a citation?
If possible, the owner, manager, or contractor should attempt to put snow in the parkway between the sidewalk and the street. Absolutely, DO NOT dump it in the street or the entrance to an alley, or over fire hydrants.
4. How long do I have to clear the snow in front of my property?
Under the Chicago snow removal law, responsible parties (whether it’s property management companies or contractors) must clear snow that falls between 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. by no later than 10 p.m. on that same day. If snow falls between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. it must be cleared by 10 a.m. the next day. Snow must be cleared from sidewalks in Chicago 7 days a week – yes you need to clear it on the weekends too!
5. What if you cannot get the ice off the sidewalk or other issues?
Responsible parties must put down sand or other traction causing material to mitigate the slipping hazards and prevent the accumulation of ice. And once weather permits, they must clean the sidewalk.
6. I’ve done everything and I STILL got sued for a slip and fall what can I do?
Unless landlords or business owners have been very careless or intentionally created a hazard, Section 10-8-190 of the Municipal Code indemnifies them from civil damages arising from acts or omissions in removing the snow or ice from the public sidewalk. This however does not protect you against negligence and carelessly allowing ice to accumulate through downspouts or other sources. In 2016, a lawsuit between Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Management Services, Inc, IL 120394 alleged that LMS allowed ice to form through run-off water 11 days after the last snowfall and caused her to slip and fall. Even though that is something many people might not even notice, the lawsuit was upheld and awarded to the tenant. So make sure to check sidewalks and downspouts near your properties – are they in need of repair or redirection before the winter season arrives? Call R&R Chicago today for a free consultation!
Winter 2019-2020 Season Countdown
Complete Guide to Types of Snow Removal Services in 2020
When it’s time to find your Chicago snow removal service, you’ll encounter phrases and terms such as snow plowing, salting, snow removal, snow hauling, loader work, calcium chloride, snow shoveling & snow blowing service, “curb to curb” service, winter seasonal management, seasonal service contracts… so unless you’ve been doing this for a few years, you will most likely get very overwhelmed! Do not worry however our handy little guide aims to clear up your confusion!
There are many different methods snow plowing companies utilize to manage snow and ice at your property including: chemical pre-treatment, de-icing, snow shoveling crews, snow blowers, 4×4 ATV snow plowing, and the various types of snow removal trucks.
Effectively deicing your property is important for many reasons: it helps improve safety, minimizing the number of slip and fall claims. That reduced risk ultimately lowers your insurance costs. Lastly yet most importantly, providing safe passage, clear sidewalks, roadways, entryways, and parking lots are signs of superb customer service and welcomes customers to your facility or residence.
There are a variety of products to de-ice your property not limited to but including: liquids, treated salt, cma, and ice melt.
Liquid de-icer such as triple melt is applied to the sidewalks and traffic areas prior to a storm, prevents the bonding of snow and ice to your concrete. It speeds the dry ice melting process to a liquid brine.
Fusion liquid de-icer is used to treat snow salt, reducing bounce and scatter, and keeping a higher ratio of salt on the surfaces. Fusion enhances quality and longevity of salt applications.
CMA or Calcium, magnesium, Acetate is provided for clients who want to avoid chlorides on their concrete. CMA is the only product approved for new concrete.
Ice Melt such as Professional Ice Melter (PIM) melts more, melts faster and at lower temperatures. We can supply any kind of ice melt specifically for your walkways and parking lots.
Sometimes clients might request that snow be hauled off premises in times where it might not be feasible to pile it on property. Getting rid of the snow that is piling up and potentially threatening the safety of your clients or tenants requires that you contract with a snow removal service that can act quickly, effectively, and using the highest quality equipment available.
Skid-steer loaders are versatile, making them one of the most popular vehicles for clearing snow. Since they work with many types of add-ons, skid steers are easy to adapt to your needs. These are best used for clearing snow from small areas and tight spaces.
One thing to note with skid steers: you’ll have to choose between models with wheels and those with tracks. Keep in mind that dirt tracks tend to slip when driving in icy conditions or pushing large snow piles. However, snow tracks do work very well on slick surfaces. Wheels also tend to offer good traction in snowy weather, especially if you’re equipped with snow tires.
Add on options such as a heated cab and cold crank batteries will make that much difference when going out in the dead of winter.
Wheel Steer Loaders
All-wheel steer loaders are easier to operate, provide more functionality, all the while doing everything skid steer loaders can do. They turn easily, can navigate small spaces, have great traction, cause less ground damage, and as a result, can push more snow much easier.
Heated cabs are a much needed add on here as well.
Backhoe loaders take efficiency and practicality to the next level. They can operate safely and smoothly, particularly in extreme conditions, can both lift and compact snow for removal from a site, and also work efficiently, especially when handling heavy, wet snow.
They are also versatile in the sense that they can be readily equipped with attachments such as quick couplers, cushioned rides, heated cabs, and heated seats.
Snow Plowing Vehicles
Pick-Up Trucks w/ Snow Plow Attachments
While it is possible to outfit vehicles such as jeeps or even cargo vans with a plow, the most effective type of pick up trucks for snow plowing are heavy duty, 4×4, and with most of the seats removed to keep the vehicle balanced. This is the most common type of snow plowing vehicles you will see.
Sometimes you need to clear snow from unpaved areas, so you’ll need a different type of machine. Utility vehicles such as ATVs can handle rugged terrain, and some models can tackle off-road snow movement, too. Opt for a four-wheel drive and snow tires. These special tires offer better traction and easier maneuvering on slick terrain.
Snow Removal Equipment
Mini track loaders
Mini track loaders are small, but can handle moderate snowfall in certain areas such as sidewalks and narrow walkways. These machines can lift, compact, and store snow in a tight space.
Crews, however, don’t drive mini track loaders they’ll walk behind these small machines instead. They guide them in the right direction and adjust the controls to push, lift, and compact snow.
Snow blowers work best in heavy snowfall. These compact machines can move snow several feet away without damaging the surface underneath and move snow from paved sidewalks or driveways to unpaved areas for long-term snow storage.
This versatility makes snowblowers ideal for tight areas and areas with limited storage space.
Snow Shovel Crews
The infantry of snow removal armies everywhere, these unsung heroes use the time tested true method of snow removal – good ol’ fashioned snow shovels and elbow grease.
Essential Snow Removal Equipment Attachments
Before you buy or rent snow removal equipment for your crew, you’ll need to consider attachments not only to make snow removal easier and more efficient but to accomodate your crews comfort and ensure attendance even in the worst of snow storms.
Snow buckets are affordable and easy to use, but come with a few drawbacks. Most models measure at least 5 feet wide, can move large amounts of light snow, excel at loading snow onto trucks and can also load sand and snow-melt materials.
Snow buckets, however, don’t perform as well at clearing snow, in tight spaces or on an uneven ground either. In fact, they can damage bumpy or angled surfaces since they can’t be adjusted for obstacles.
Snow pushers have larger capacities than snow buckets and perform well in heavy snowfall. They work well in large, open spaces, such as driveways and parking lots. These add-ons come with rubber edges, preventing impacts from uneven surfaces and offer a smoother ride for your crew.
However, since they work like snowplows, they can’t load, lift, or move snow, sand, or salt from an area.
Angle plows do well in all types of snow events. They can be used in smaller spaces or open areas, have the largest capacity and the greatest efficiency of any snow removal attachment.
Angle plows can’t load snow onto trucks, but, they can stack snow higher than snow buckets can. This function makes angle plows useful in areas with limited snow storage space.
Scrapers can’t move heavy snowfall. Instead of plow or pushing features, these attachments come with discs that rotate under the ice and snow breaking up and clearing packed snow and ice.
Scrapers typically measure 3 to 4 feet wide, blades need no maintenance, and are ideal for clearing larger paved spaces before you add sand or salt.
These attachments can distribute gravel, salt, and other snow-melt substances. The attachments work well on sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, and other paved areas. If your snow removal contracts include spreading sand and salt, spreaders are essential for doing the job correctly.
How To Choose The Best Chicago Snow Removal Company
We’ve compiled a checklist below to help you decide which snow plowing service to use for the upcoming Chicago Winter 2019-2020 Season.
Is This Snow Plowing Company a Legitimate Business?
Checking websites such as the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office for certificates of good standing should be your number 1 priority. If they don’t have an LLC, they probably don’t have insurance, nor a business…
Do They Have Adequate Insurance For Commercial Snow Removal?
Most businesses and property management companies require general liability insurance, worker’s compensation, and commercial auto policy. A company fit to handle commercial accounts will have already had the proper compliance set up.
Does This Snow Management Service Have The Proper Equipment?
- Heavy-duty trucks capable of moving large quantities of snow either by hauling, removing, or relocating it quickly and efficiently.
- Skid-steers and end-loaders with attachments for creating snow piles and breaking up ice with scrapers.
- Sidewalk crews with high-end de-icing materials to micromanage snow and ice wherever foot traffic occurs, mitigating the risk of accidents.
- Snow Blowers, back up vehicles, and/or a plan in the event of vehicle malfunctioning.
Does This Commercial Snow Removal Service Have Updated Communication Equipment?
- Weather alerts, sent to customers before, during, and after storms via push notification, SMS, or email.
- Time-and-date reports of services provided, sent without interruption. This is especially key for ensuring your business had snow removal services rendered when you are personally off-site and even more importantly in the event of a city fine or lawsuit..
- A dedicated dispatch team with organizational oversight and efficient fleet management.
What Else Should I Look For When Choosing a Snow Removal Service For My Chicago Property?
- Responsiveness – Do they answer the phones every time or call you back a week later?
- Thoroughness – Do they cover every possible scenario, provide details instead of general statements, and can answer any question quickly and without hesitation?
- Management – Has the owner of the company reached out to you and introduced themselves? While it could simply be that they are busy, engaged management always makes an effort to reach out to a prospective client and offer their direct number for any questions. Not knowing who the owner is could be that it is being hidden from the public to prevent people from knowing that it was an old business that burned too many bridges under a new assumed name…
Looking for a reliable, professional, and efficient snow removal service for your Chicago business? Just click below to get started!