Streets & Alleys FAQ 7

What is a snow emergency ordinance and how does it work?

Many Wisconsin cities and villages have adopted snow emergency ordinances pursuant to the specific authority granted to them for snow emergency parking regulation in Wis. Stat. sec. 349.13(1e)(c)2. These ordinances typically authorize the police chief or public works director to determine when there is a snow emergency and to contact the media. Upon declaration of a snow emergency on radio or television, parking on streets is prohibited or limited in all or designated areas.

Section 16 of the Wisconsin Uniform Traffic Code Annotated prohibits parking during snow emergencies in areas marked by temporary "no parking" signs or between designated hours, although short-term parking for loading and unloading passengers and goods is allowed.

Although parking restrictions must generally be posted on the street where effective, there are statutory exceptions. Section 349.13(1e)(c)2, Stats., provides that signs informing motorists that twenty-four-hour parking limitations, night parking regulations (e.g. between midnight and 7 a.m.) or snow emergency regulations are in effect may be posted at the corporate limits. This authority is broad enough to cover signing of calendar or alternate-side parking during winter.