A Resident’s Guide to Snow Operations


When snow falls, it is imperative that we clear the streets and sidewalks as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure transportation safety as well as to restore our already limited curbside parking.  While the links above provide detailed information on winter parking regulations, snow plowing operations, and important contact information, the guide below will expand upon some other issues related to snowfall and subsequent snow and ice removal.


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It is important for us to keep main roads clear for plows and emergency vehicles during extreme weather.  You will be ticketed and towed if you leave your car on most streets during a snow emergency.

Town ordinance states "Upon announcement by the National Weather Service or local news media outlets of an expected or impending snowstorm, all automobiles and motor vehicles must be removed from the town streets. Any automobile or motor vehicle not removed shall be subject to the penalty of being tagged and fined for violation of the town parking regulations and/or being towed away at the expense of the owner, operator or responsible person...."  There are portions of certain streets that are an exception to the parking ban, where vehicles are allowed to park.  However, vehicles must be removed from the excepted areas at the conclusion of the storm, to allow crews to conduct snow removal operations in those areas.

When the forecast calls for a winter storm with an accumulation that will require plowing, the Public Works Director may declare a Snow Emergency Parking Ban in advance of the storm.  When a parking ban is declared, vehicles must be removed from the streets by the time indicated.  Once snow removal operations have proceeded to a point where vehicles can once again be on the streets without impeding snow removal operations or safe travel, the parking ban will be lifted.

A parking ban may be lifted before full curb-to-curb clearing of streets has been completed.  In this case, motorists are still required to park within twelve inches of the curb, and leave at least a ten foot wide lane for passing traffic, as required by ordinance.

For the safety of emergency crews and motorists, and to avoid receiving a parking ticket and/or having your vehicle towed, please remember the folowing:

  • Vehicles cannot park within twenty feet of an intersection
  • Vehicles cannot park more than one foot from the curb
  • Don't block sidewalks, fire hydrants, crosswalks, handicapped access ramps, driveways, or the street with your vehicle.
  • For your safety, make sure to clear all snow at least one foot around your muffler before starting your engine.  Blocked mufflers can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Complete information regarding Winter Parking and Parking bans is available if you click here.

Please note that Winthrop Shore Drive is a state roadway, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.  As such, parking bans on Winthrop Shore Drive are implemented and lifted independent of those in the rest of the town. For information on DCR parking bans, click here.

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With the exeption of Winthrop Shore Drive, any vehicle towed from a public street or municipal lot will be ticketed and towed by order of the Winthrop Police Department.  If your vehicle was towed, please call the Winthrop Police at 617-846-1212 to find out where your vehicle was towed to.  Any vehicle towed from a town street or municipal lot during a storm will have a parking ticket issued to it.  If your vehicle was towed but you cannot find the ticket, please contact the Parking and Municipal Hearing office by clicking here for information regarding the ticket.  It may take up to ten days from the date of the ticket for the information to appear in the computer system.

If your vehicle was towed from Winthrop Shore Drive, please contact the Massachusetts State Police, Revere Barracks at 781-284-0038.

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While space savers are allowed in some communities, the Town of Winthrop does not permit space savers on public property.  Town ordinance prohibits anyone from obstructing the public street or sidewalk without a permit from the Town Council. Therefore, any chairs, barrels, traffic cones or other objects placed in the public way to "reserve" parking spaces will be removed and disposed of immediately.

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Plow crews prioritize clearing main routes - like Main Street, Revere Street, and Pleasant Street - so emergency vehicles can get around town as quickly as possible.  Most of our snow and ice removal is done by Town employees operating Town vehicles, however, crews are supplemented by contractors who work in conjunction with and under the supervision of Town crews.  Crews are responsible for clearing over 60 miles of roadway and 18 municipal parking areas each storm.  Since it is a state road, snow removal on Winthrop Shore Dirve is handled by DCR crews.  For more information on snow removal on town roads and lots, please click here to read about the Town's snow removal operations if you haven't already followed the link at the top of this page.

A number of residents and property owners hire private plow contractors to clear snow and ice from their own property.  Please remember that town ordinance prohibits anyone from placing snow from private property onto a town roadway or lot.  Violators are subject to a fine.

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The owner or tenant of a property is responsible for removal of snow and ice from the sidewalk abutting their property.  For more information on the requirements for removal of snow and ice from sidewalks, please click here or follow the link on the left side of the page.

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Heavy snow loads on roofs can lead to issues for homeowners, tenants and businesses.  These issues can vary from sagging or leaking roofs in mild cases, to structural collapse in severe cases.  For information on the dangers of roof collapse and snow removal safety information, please click here or follow the link on the left side of the page.

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In addition to the dangers associated with snow, ice, and coastal flooding that can occur during the winter, residents also need to prepare for the cold.  While our temperatures are often kept milder due to our coastal location, there are times we are faced with extreme cold.  For information on what you can do to prepare for such events, please click here or follow the link on the left side of the page.

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Keeping homes warm during the winter can pose a challenge for a number of people.  For information on regulations and resources that may be available, please click here or follow the link on the left side of the page.

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If you lose your utility service during a storm, please contact your utility provider by the means provided below:

Utility Provider (Click name for outage/service website)Phone
National Grid (Electric)1-800-465-1212 to report outages and downed wires
1-800-322-3223 if you have life sustaining equipment in your home
National Grid (Gas)1-800-233-5325 or 911 for a gas emergency
Verizon1-800-VERIZON (837-4966)

For tips to plan for utility related issues during a storm, please click here.
For information on utility related storm safety, please click here

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