Snow Removal Street Categories


Snow removal begins while the snow is falling on snow routes and is ongoing until all snow routes have been cleared and the snow has stopped. Then, City crews move on to other streets around Des Moines in a calculated order. These streets are prioritized into six categories (in order below) to best serve the needs of the metro and assist in minimizing the impact of snow on Des Moines' traffic.

  • Snow Routes and Hospital Access Streets
    • These routes are given first priority for salt application and snow removal. Snow Routes are normally plowed when snow accumulations exceed one inch. All residential properties are within four blocks of a Snow Route. Remember, when emergency snow or ice removal operations are in progress, you may not park your vehicle on a Snow Route.
  • Central Business District (Downtown)
    • There are no weather-related parking restrictions in the central business district of downtown Des Moines during normal snow plow operations. If you are parking at a meter during snow removal operations, in this area, you will be allowed, but your car may get plowed in by our City snow plows.
  • Snow Districts (Residential Streets)
    • Residents are encouraged to park off residential streets during snowfall. After the snowfall ends, residential streets will be plowed full width (curb-to-curb) where possible. At that time, parking will be restricted to allow room for plow drivers to clear as much as possible.
  • Alley Routes
    • The alley routes that provide primary access to residential properties will be cleared prior to the end of the snowfall to facilitate off-street parking during snow removal operations in residential areas.
  • Cul-De-Sac
    • Special equipment may be needed to plow cul-de-sacs or dead-end streets. Residents may notice these streets are not plowed at the same time as other streets.
  • Odd/Even Parking
    • For neighborhoods with limited amounts of off-street parking, the Des Moines City Council has implemented a concept known as Odd/Even Side Snow Parking Zones. For more information on Odd/Even Neighborhoods, visit the Odd/Even Parking Page.