Winter storm predicted to hit Tuesday

Winter storm predicted to hit Tuesday

A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for Scott County running Monday night through early Wednesday morning. Snow accumulations could add up to 8+ inches.

According to the national weather service …

HEAVY SNOW POSSIBLE TUESDAY THROUGH EARLY WEDNESDAY… .A SLOW MOVING WINTER STORM WILL BRING SNOW ACROSS EASTERN IOWA AND NORTHWEST ILLINOIS MONDAY NIGHT, WHICH WILL CONTINUE THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING. PRECIPITATION WILL START OUT AS RAIN DURING THE DAY TODAY, WHICH WILL CHANGE TO LIGHT SNOW OVERNIGHT. SNOW MAY BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES, ESPECIALLY TUESDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT. INCREASING NORTH TO NORTHWEST WINDS MAY CAUSE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING.

What you should do

Keep in mind, we’ve published helpful articles about how to prepare for an on-coming snow storm here and here. But lest you forget, it’s really helpful if you get your cars off the street and into your driveways (or garages) so the plows can move as much snow as possible.

And if you’re planning on shoveling the heavy, wet stuff, here are some tips on how to save your back and make sure you don’t wear yourself out (or bring on a heart attack) in the process.

Stay warm. Stay safe. Remember, the official start of spring is less than a month away!

Snow advisory for Riverdale

Snow advisory for Riverdale

All residents of Riverdale are advised that a heavy snowfall is expected this weekend and to take appropriate action to allow road cleaning and maintenance crews full access to the City’s streets and other public infrastructure.

Winter Storm Warning issued for Scott County

According to the National Weather Service, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 6pm this evening (January 10) through midnight tomorrow (January 11). Heavy snow and mixed precipitation is expected. Total snow and sleet accumulations of 3 – 7″ are expected along with ice accumulations of up to a quarter inch.

Wind gusts on Saturday could reach 35 mph.

Travel is expected to be difficult and due to the ice and wind, tree and power line damage may occur. If you must travel, please be sure to bring an extra flashlight and food/water in case you get stranded in your car. If you’re traveling in Iowa, you can dial 5-1-1 for road conditions.

Winter storm preparations at home

For Riverdale residents, we ask you make sure your car is out of the street and parked in your driveway, if at all possible. This will allow road clearing crews to move as much of the snow off the streets on their first pass as possible. 

Snow removal services are contracted with the City of Bettendorf. If you’re curious as to how the plow crews are called out, what gets plowed first and tips on how to make sure the service you receive is as good as possible, check out this article we published last September that spelled all of that out.

Following our first snow events this year, we also learned a few other important lessons – so please keep this information in mind as you prepare for this weekend’s weather:

There are some things Riverdale residents can do to make sure the Bettendorf DPW plows are able to do a good job for the City. Among those:

1. If the snow is falling on a Sunday night, make sure your garbage and recycling bins are away from the curb so there’s room to push the snow. The November 11th plow was particularly difficult because not only were there waste and recycling bins up to the curb, many residents had spent time over the weekend bagging leaves. Plow drivers (many of whom were new to the job) were wary of plowing too close to the curb for fear of hitting a rolling bin (which did happen, twice) or some bags of leaves and creating a bigger mess in the street.

2. If you know snow is coming, please put your car in your driveway. Leaving your car parked in the street makes the driver swerve away from the curb to get around your vehicle and leaves a lot of unplowed snow in the street which can freeze and make it all that more difficult to get the street clean later on in the day.

Driveway Snow Removal Tips

3. If possible, create a “landing zone” for snow pushed by the plow in advance of it getting to your driveway (see the diagram to the right). By doing this, you’ll minimize the amount of snow pushed onto the end of your driveway and make getting out and onto Riverdale’s freshly-plowed streets easier.

4. When you’re shoveling or snow-blowing your driveway, make sure you go side-to-side and avoid  pushing your driveway snow into the street. This will help decrease the amount of time DPW’s crews need to work clearing our streets (and save us money in the process) and improves safety for other vehicles by reducing the chance of random ice-spots developing on our main roads.

Winter Storm Preparation Tips

Finally, from our friends at The Weather Channel, we pulled these 14 tips on how to prepare for a winter storm. And while some of the tips may be a little much for a 3-7″ storm (do we really need a hand-cranked, NOAA Weather Radio?), it’s always good to give a list like this a quick review to make sure nothing has slipped your mind.

One tip that’s good to keep in mind, though, is to make sure that if you have water pipes that might be exposed to ultra-cold temperatures for an extended period of time, that they’re either drained of water or are set to drip/trickle water to help prevent freezing.

Stay warm and safe this weekend!

Lessons learned from recent snow removal

Lessons learned from recent snow removal

The results of a recent meeting with Bettendorf’s Department of Public Works (DPW) director, Bryan Schmidt and its operations manager, Kris Hatfield, served as a useful review and exchange of information Riverdale residents should keep in mind for the upcoming winter season.

Performance in the past two snow events

The City shared observations and concerns from residents with DPW related to timeliness of service provided and over-all quality, specifically as it related to the need to plow closer to the curbs in the Havens Acres neighborhood. A considerable amount of time was spent reviewing GPS reports produced by DPW that showed where and when their trucks were plowing in Riverdale – some of those GPS maps are provided below. More information could be obtained about a particular truck and/or snow event, but the maps reviewed showed that DPW had not only provided the service as specified in our 28E agreement with Bettendorf, but that they could also help us better understand how the streets were plowed and what could be done by both parties to improve plow quality and satisfaction.

One of the more interesting facts presented was the time required to plow Riverdale’s 9 lane-miles of streets. The new contractor (Bettendorf DPW) took less than half the time (and less than half the cost) to plow the City’s streets compared to the time required by our previous contractor for similar snow events.

Adjustments to be made by Bettendorf DPW

For future snow events, the City requested and DPW agreed to make sure the major hills in Riverdale (Fenno, Manor and, at some point, Madison) are brined prior to snowfall. Although brining would not have substantially changed conditions on the November 11th event (there was rain prior to the snowfall that would have washed away the salt brine), the preparatory work done to the City’s roads are expected to make later plows more effective and the streets/hillsides safer.

The only exception to this agreement will be when the street temperature is too low to make brining the street effective. At those low temperatures, there is not any substance you can put on the road’s surface to generate melt that would not cause damage to the roadways.

DPW also agreed to pay close attention to designated school bus stops and the bus stop in Havens Acres to make sure those areas are well-plowed and safe for pedestrians/students waiting on mass transit.

Adjustments residents can make to ensure a better plow

There are some things Riverdale residents can do to make sure the DPW plows are able to do a good job for the City. Among those:

1. If the snow is falling on a Sunday night, make sure your garbage and recycling bins are away from the curb so there’s room to push the snow. The November 11th plow was particularly difficult because not only were there waste and recycling bins up to the curb, many residents had spent time over the weekend bagging leaves. Plow drivers (many of whom were new to the job) were wary of plowing too close to the curb for fear of hitting a rolling bin (which did happen, twice) or some bags of leaves and creating a bigger mess in the street.

2. If you know snow is coming, please put your car in your driveway. Leaving your car parked in the street makes the driver swerve away from the curb to get around your vehicle and leaves a lot of unplowed snow in the street which can freeze and make it all that more difficult to get the street clean later on in the day.

Driveway Snow Removal Tips

3. If possible, create a “landing zone” for snow pushed by the plow in advance of it getting to your driveway (see the diagram to the right). By doing this, you’ll minimize the amount of snow pushed onto the end of your driveway and make getting out and onto Riverdale’s freshly-plowed streets easier.

4. When you’re shoveling or snow-blowing your driveway, make sure you go side-to-side and avoid  pushing your driveway snow into the street. This will help decrease the amount of time DPW’s crews need to work clearing our streets (and save us money in the process) and improves safety for other vehicles by reducing the chance of random ice-spots developing on our main roads.

Notes from the November 11th snow event

Here are notes from Bettendorf DPW about the November 11th snow event that shows the level of detailed information we can review, when required. Please note, the City of Riverdale does not currently intend to review plowing performance on this granular level for every event into the future – but rather, we saw the November 11th event (and concerns raised by citizens) as an appropriate time to dive in and learn what we could to make everyone more successful and satisfied throughout the season.

Please note that these maps and the information provided is not all of the information available on the snow event, but these are images and notes provided to the City by DPW for illustrative purposes (and this web post). Some additional maps were provided as hard-copy print outs in our meeting showing additional plowing activity in the Havens Acres and Fenno neighborhoods, as well. Scans are not currently available for the website.

Finally, it’s important to note that weather conditions for the November 11th event were difficult for every plowing contractor and city public works department. Road and air temperatures were high enough at the start of the event to make brining roads ineffective, Wind and temperatures dropped significantly between the initial and second plowing to cause the roads to be icy and slick and most of the substantial removal/clean-up of roads didn’t occur until after the snow stopped – well past when students and workers had to leave their residences for the day.

While Riverdale residents may feel particularly aggrieved – concerned the City was “forgotten” by the Bettendorf Public Works Department because we’re not Bettendorf – both City Council Member Anthony Heddleston and Mayor Mike Bawden came away from the meeting feeling convinced that Bettendorf DPW did the best job they could given the weather conditions and that the relationship memorialized in the recently amended 28E was beneficial to the City.

 

Snow advisory for Riverdale

How was the first plow of the new year? We want to know.

Well, the first snow of the year hit us a little early – but thanks to our friends in the public works department at The City of Bettendorf, our streets were plowed and cleared on time and as promised.

But what did you think of the service? Please take a minute and answer this 4-question survey so we can use the feedback as part of a meeting officials from the City of Riverdale will be having with Bettendorf public works management as we discuss how the plowing and snow removal services are provided in the future.

Create your own user feedback survey
With snow in the forecast – there is a plan for Riverdale.

With snow in the forecast – there is a plan for Riverdale.

At last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting (10-22-19), the Council gave their go-ahead to City Administrator Tim Long to finalize arrangements with the City of Bettendorf for snow plowing and removal services this winter. The Bettendorf City Council is expected to review that the proposed 28-E agreement and provide their approval at their next meeting, in early November. Similarly, the board of Scott Community College is expected to review and approve a separate agreement with Riverdale to assure reimbursement for snow plowing and removal services provided by Bettendorf.

And then the weather turned.

The National Weather Service has now issued snow advisories for the next three nights (October 28, 29 and 30) and accumulations on roadways are a distinct possibility.

Based upon this information, the City of Riverdale has already been in contact with the Bettendorf Public Works department to discuss how the situation will be handled. In response, City Administrator Tim Long sent this email to the mayor and members of the City Council:

“Bettendorf’s director of public works confirmed this morning that if they are called out for snow tonight,  they will cover Riverdale under the terms of the agreement. Brian Schmidt also shared that their city Council was fully on board with this, and anticipated full approval at their next meeting.”

Similar conversations are underway at the moment with Scott Community College and we anticipate their acknowledgement of the situation and agreement to reimburse the City for their snow removal expenses if incurred this week.

Some things to keep in mind about snow and ice removal

Looking at the established snow and ice control policy for the City of Bettendorf (which will apply to Riverdale now, as well), it’s important to know the following:

1. Snow and ice control crews are called for duty by the Bettendorf Police Department when, in their opinion, streets are or will become hazardous.

2. The main objective for the plowing and salting of streets is: 1) arterial streets; 2) collectors; 3) local streets and cul-de-sacs/courts; and finally 4) alleys.

3. Once the main objectives are completed, crews will work on widening travel lanes and parking areas. The eventual objective of snow removal operations shall be bare pavement within twenty four (24) hours after the cessation of snow fall (for average storms of 4-6″).

4. The area between the curb and the lot line are generally used for snow storage. When necessary, snow accumulations will need to be pushed even further from the street edge to allow for additional storage capacity.

5. Crews will not remove snow from private driveways and access roads. Residents are prohibited from plowing or throwing snow from their driveway into city streets.

6. On streets which have mailboxes at the curb, crews shall come as close as possible to the box without damage. The remainder of the snow will be required to be removed by the property owner to insure mail deliveries. 

7. Residents are required to remove snow from around fire hydrants and to limit parking on streets until snow is pushed to the curb.

8. In the event a resident has a concern or issue about snow and ice control efforts around their home (e.g. your mailbox gets hit by a plow), please contact Riverdale’s public works/maintenance person to lodge your complaint. He will follow up with Bettendorf Public Works Department and coordinate a response. Using this email form is probably the best way to log your issue.

Once the final agreement is in place with the City of Bettendorf, we will publish a more complete outline of the agreement and guide for residents on the City’s website.

With snow in the forecast – there is a plan for Riverdale.

Council initiates process for securing snow removal services for 2019-20.

At its September 10th meeting, the Riverdale City Council authorized the administration to begin the process of soliciting multi-year proposals for the removal of snow and ice during the winter months.

You can read Resolution #2019-33 as well as an initial draft of the request for services quote by clicking here.

Council member, Anthony Heddlesten, will spearhead the effort along with City Administrator, Tim Long. There are currently a number of options on the table the City will review, but the hope is that no matter the final “scope of work” there will be way of fairly evaluating the contractor’s performance that will result in the contract renewing automatically rather than requiring the City to go through a new RFP/Contract Award process again.

Among the issues the City has to take into consideration in this contract for services are:

•  the projected growth of the Woods Estates development and what that will mean in terms of additional road requiring plowing;

•  agreement(s) the City may already have in place with Bettendorf to “brine” hillside roads like Fenno Road in advance of coming snows to reduce the ability of snow to accumulate too rapidly.

•  any interest there may be from Scott Community College or the PV School District to combine snow removal needs into one, master contract in order to scale the project to a size that will yield a cost savings to all parties.

•  the establishment of some kind of feedback mechanism for residents to use when they see a problem or haven’t seen a plow within the specified window of service as outlined in the contract.

Have any questions?

If you have thoughts or questions on this subject, please feel free to leave them in the comments section, below.