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Snow Action Day extended through Thursday

February 2, 2011 By Dennis Chaptman

This week’s forecasted snowstorm has led campus officials to declare a Snow Action Day through Thursday, Feb. 3.

A Snow Action Day is part of UW–Madison’s plan for dealing with snow clearance, one aimed at making the campus easy and safe to navigate for everyone.

In snowy conditions, crews will first clear accessible entrances and pathways, enabling everyone, including people with disabilities, to enter and exit buildings and move around campus more easily.

Also, winter parking regulations aimed at helping snow removal efforts are in effect.

And a campuswide Snow Action Day designation — implemented successfully last year — will help the university efficiently handle major snow removal operations.

Campus officials will call a Snow Action Day when significant snowy weather is expected, to alert the campus community and better enable crews to remove snow. It is an advisory and a call to action and does not mean that classes have been canceled or the university has been closed. Those announcements are made separately.

In the event of a Snow Action Day, the  designation will be announced on the university’s home page and will include the following:

  • People will be encouraged to leave their cars at home and ride the bus to campus.
  • Moped and bicycle travel will be discouraged.
  • New winter parking rules in specific parking lots and some university streets will take effect.
  • The top level of parking ramps will be closed to allow snow clearance.
  • Signs will be placed at the bus stop atop Bascom Hill and at the Memorial Union if buses cannot make the steep trip up Observatory Drive during storms, to better inform riders.
  • Motorists will be urged to park in cleared areas of parking lots or in ramps, where possible.

So that crews can focus their attention on clearing high-priority areas, some walking routes will be cleared last in the wake of Snow Action Days, including the south walk along Lot 46, the Bill’s Woods Walk in Eagle Heights, the west sidewalk on Lake Mendota Drive, and the Hoofers lakefront area at the Memorial Union.

A Snow Action Day affects only the campus during major snowstorms. The city of Madison issues and enforces separate snow emergency advisories that affect areas near the campus.

To help facilitate snow clearance, several new winter parking rules are in effect on campus from Nov. 15 until March 15. They include:

  • No parking on Observatory Drive or Linden Drive at any time between 2-6 a.m.
  • Parking will be contained within designated rows for overnight, non-permit parkers between 2-6 a.m. in Lot 16, near the UW Police Department, and Lot 51, near the UW Fleet Garage.
  • Designated parking for certain departmental employees will be designated in selected lots to concentrate vehicle parking and speed snow clearance in those lots. The lots include Lot 32, near Frank’s Place; Lot 34, behind Liz Waters Hall; and Lot 40, behind Babcock Hall.

Bucky with a shovel image street signs

All of these areas will be marked with signs that include an easily identifiable “Shoveling Bucky” caricature.

Efforts have also been made to help make the campus easier to navigate for individuals with disabilities. In addition to prioritizing accessible entrances and pathways, some disabled parking stalls have been moved from roof level, to lower levels in parking ramps providing protection from the elements; and the McBurney Disability Resource Center has developed a student guide to accessibility and wintry weather.

The university is taking other steps to keep winter at bay. Depending on need, hourly student help may be sought to help shovel after major snowstorms; and dozens more shovels, painted green, will be placed in building entrances for building managers and other employees to use and at bus stops in the campus area in hopes of keeping those areas clear.

Officials hope people will take advantage of the green shovels to help clear the bus stops and make them more pedestrian-friendly.