Snow & Ice Info

page-p274Living in New England means dealing with ice and snow. You can read below how Greenfield deals with winter weather conditions, what property owners' and residents' responsibilities are, and what you can do to protect yourself and your property. You can read the snow and ice removal section of the city ordinance here.


The DPW would like to remind residents of simple, inexpensive steps they can take to avoid the inconvenience and cost of frozen/broken water lines. Residents should thoroughly button up (close and seal) their cellars. We've had calls for frozen pipes only to find someone had opened a cellar window in the summer and forgotten to close it! Close and lock or secure all windows so they don’t reopen. If you can't afford insulation, stuff rags into gaps around window and bulkhead casings. Put plastic over bulkhead and door openings. Wash the windows and then put plastic over the window opening; even a small window allows light penetration and warmth from the sun. Turn off and drain the lines to outside hose bibs (outdoor faucets) by opening the hose bib and leaving it open.


While we try to minimize the amount of snow that gets plowed into driveways, clearing driveway openings is the responsibility of the property owner; plows cannot be lifted as we pass by a driveway. It may be best to remember that snow will be plowed into driveways as we perform curb-to-curb plowing and you may wish to clear your driveway several times during the storm or wait until the storm is over and plowing activities have concluded. Shoveling snow back into the street when clearing driveways and sidewalks is prohibited by city ordinance.


The owner of any real estate, residential or commercial, abutting any city way (road, street, alley, etc.) where there is a sidewalk must remove snow, ice, and/or sleet from the sidewalk to at least four feet wide, or the full width of the sidewalk if smaller than four feet, within 24 hours after the precipitation has ceased to fall. This includes any abutting curb cuts or ramps. If the snow/sleet/ice can't be completely removed, the property owner should sprinkle sand or salt to make the sidewalks safe for travel.

Whoever violates this by-law may be fined $10 for the first offense, $25 for the second offense, and $100 for the third and each subsequent offense in one calendar year. Violations should be reported to Parking Enforcement.

You can read in the city ordinance about snow removal from sidewalks here.

The Police Department is the authority that issues citations for failure to remove snow from sidewalks. Because of staffing constraints, the police do not actively patrol sidewalks to determine if they are cleared, but will respond to complaints and obvious safety problems. 


The owner or resident of any real estate abutting any city or public way where there is a fire hydrant has until 24 hours after the end of precipitation to clear a width of two feet around said fire hydrant, including a direct path at least two feet wide to the street for access by the Fire Department.

You can read in the city ordinance about snow removal from fire hydrants here.


Residents can pick up free treated winter sand at the DPW Yard at 209 Wells St. Monday though Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and during storm operations.


Because of the confusion it creates, we try not to cancel trash and recycling pick-ups. In extreme cases, however, cancellation may be necessary. Such a cancellation would be announced on this website, our social media, and (if possible) local news outlets.

You can make it possible for DPW workers to collect your trash and recycling during a storm when there isn't a cancellation - please place your items in a cleared area such as the entrance to your driveway or a shoveled path from the road. You can also use a shovel to create a shelf on the street side of a snowbank on which to place your items. If snow is predicted overnight, please don't put your items out until 7 a.m. to prevent it from being covered by snow from the plows.


The following is a general description of Greenfield's Snow Fighting Plan.

  • Step One: When a snowstorm begins, the DPW responds by treating the main roads and hill sections. Treating these roadways serves two purposes: to keep traffic moving and to prevent the snow from bonding to the pavement.
  • Step Two: Plowing operations begin when snow accumulates to approximately three inches, or forecasts indicate that it will. Over 25 city plows are called out and assigned to pre-determined routes. It takes roughly seven hours to plow all 120 miles of roadway once. During a long-duration storm the streets may be plowed two or three times.
  • Step Three: Main streets are salted to achieve bare pavement and residential streets with hills are pre-treated to improve traction.
  • Step Four: At midnight, once there is little traffic in the downtown area, crews are called in to clean up downtown streets which are difficult to plow well during the day due to heavy traffic and parked vehicles. They also clear city and school parking lots.

Greenfield implements a Snow Emergency Parking Ban which will be placed into effect during storms. A snow emergency is declared by the mayor or the Director of Public Works. Emergency parking bans are announced on the homepage of this website and all city social media.

A snow emergency may include but not be limited to snow storms, ice storms, drifting conditions, or snow removal after a storm.


Illegally parked vehicles are the biggest obstacle to effective snow removal efforts. Vehicles that violate the winter parking ban or otherwise hinder snow removal will be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense. Please support Department of Public Works efforts by parking your car in conformance with the parking ban. You can read the specifics of the parking ban on the parking page.

Questions regarding parking restrictions should be referred to the DPW Office, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 413-772-1528.


  • Sign Up for Greenfield Alert: Text Greenfield to 67283 or sign up online to receive a phone call, email, or text when a winter parking ban is called and another when it's lifted. This free service also provides other critical alerts.
  • Follow Greenfield on Facebook: City of Greenfield DPW.
  • Visit this website; parking emergencies will be announced on the home page.
  • Check local media outlets: The city sends notices to the local print, radio, and TV outlets. We can't guarantee they will publish the notice however, so choose a backup plan!

Plowing snow from Greenfield's 120 miles of public and private streets is a complicated and formidable task involving coordinating plows, staffing mechanics, customer service operators, and route supervisors. The hours can be extraordinarily long, with operations conducted during the most unfavorable weather and driving conditions. We realize that in an operation of such size, and complexity there are bound to be complaints or requests for additional service.

The DPW has a formal, computer-based system to respond to complaints. If you believe that a request for service is warranted and sufficient time has elapsed for us to have responded, please call our snow complaint number at 413-772-1528. This number is staffed by trained customer service representatives who will log your complaint into our computer database. The information is then relayed to our field supervisors for quick resolution. Please understand that this is the fastest way to get a complaint resolved. Calling any other city or DPW offices will not result in quicker service.

Remember, driving in winter snowstorms should be avoided whenever possible. In every winter storm, there are times when road conditions are hazardous despite everyone's best efforts. Our work to restore safe road conditions is completed more quickly and efficiently when roads are free of traffic and illegally parked vehicles.