Snow / Ice Management

Snow Removal Policy

DPW maintains 673 miles of major roads and 1884 miles of residential streets in the city. Freeways are maintained by the Wayne County Road Commission. State trunklines such as Michigan, Woodward, and Gratiot are maintained by the State, while county roads such as Outer Drive, W. McNichols and W. 7 Mile are maintained by Wayne County. The City also has 50 miles of protected bike lanes on segments of Cass, Conner, Jefferson, Livernois, Michigan, Trumbull, and Warren,

DPW has 70 trucks in inventory; 50+ will be on the streets for each snow event. The City utilizes a three-level system for snow removal during the winter weather.

Level 1

  • 3 inches or less of snow and/or freezing rain (average of 80% of Detroit snow events fall into this category)
  • DPW crews remove snow only from major thoroughfare by salting streets.
  • Bike Lanes will be salted
  • All roads will be cleared for vehicular traffic within 24 hours of snow stopping; all bike lanes will be salted within 36 hours of snow stopping


Level 2

  • 3 to 6 inches of snow
  • DPW crews will remove snow only from major thoroughfares by plowing and/or salting roads.
  • Bike lanes will be plowed and salted as needed; snow from bike lanes will either be pushed to the curb, or hauled away, dependent upon volume of snowfall
  • Highest priority roads will be cleared within 24 hours of snow stopping; all major roads and bike lanes will be cleared within 48-72 hours of snow ending


Level 3

  • 6 inches or more of snow
  • DPW crews will plow and salt on major thoroughfares.
  • Bike Lanes will be cleared after vehicle travel lanes have all been removed of snow; accumulated snow in bike lanes will be pushed to the closest intersection and hauled away.
  • The following contractors will be deployed to plow residential streets (District 1 – Brilar Landscaping; District 2 – Jordan Landscaping; District 3 – Grace Management.; District 4 – Payne Landscaping; District 5 – Fontenot; District 6 – Pavex; District 7 – Jordan)
  • Residential streets will be plowed at least 16 feet wide, within ½ inch to the ground
  • The City may declare a Snow Emergency, which can be used to restrict parking along previously identified major corridor


For all snow events, business owners and residents are required to clear snow from their sidewalks.


Parking Restrictions, Snow Emergencies & Requirements of Citizens

Roadways that have been identified as snow emergency routes will have signs posted up to 48 hrs in advance to prohibit parking for the purpose of plowing. Residents will also receive notices for street clearing via the media, as well as the City of Detroit website and cable channels.

In extreme weather, the City may declare a snow emergency, which will allow police to ticket and tow illegally parked vehicles on snow emergency routes, therefore providing access for the streets to be plowed from curb to curb. During this time, any streets that have been marked by red and white signs are first priority for snow removal.

Residents and businesses are reminded that they are responsible for maintaining their sidewalks in a manner that makes it safe for pedestrians. Snow removal companies and property owners are prohibited from putting snow from their property onto public roadways.


City of Detroit Warming Centers

The City of Detroit is contracting with Cass Community Social Services and Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries to provide temporary relief to persons who are homeless and do not utilize existing homeless shelters available within City limits.

Cass Community Social Services, 1534 Webb, has 40 beds and provides services for families (male and female parents and children). The center is open from 4 p.m. – 8 a.m. Contact the Cass Community Social Services at (313) 883-2277.

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries has 100 beds for men only. The center, 3535 Third Avenue near downtown Detroit, is open from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. For information, contact the Detroit Rescue Mission at (313) 993-6703.

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries has a second location with 25 beds for women and children only. The center, 3840 Fairview between Mack and St. Jean, is open from 4:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. For information on this location, contact the Detroit Rescue Mission at (313) 331-8990.

The three facilities will operate daily during the cold weather months including holidays. The locations combined are expected to accommodate up to 165 persons at a time. During extreme cold (temperatures that have dropped to 10 degrees), services will be extended to include daytime hours.

Clients may be picked up by vans from organizations that offer outreach services or be referred by other homeless agencies. Upon entering the warming center, clients are expected to complete the intake process for admission.

All individuals are supervised at all times to ensure the safety and security. They are also provided with two hot meals, counseling, showering and sleeping accommodations. Clients are also encouraged to take advantage of other support services, such as referrals, housing assistance, health screening, and other related services.
For more information regarding the warming centers, call (313) 224-9974.