Snow Emergency Guidelines & Parking Information

Snow Emergency Guidelines

Winter storms can be trying for all of us; motorists, residents and snowplow operators alike. Our goal of keeping streets open, essential traffic moving, and returning the streets to safe and travelable conditions quickly can only be accomplished with your help. Working together, we will be able to provide the important services of our winter maintenance program - KEEPING STREETS OPEN, ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC MOVING, AND RETURNING THE STREETS TO SAFE TRAVELABLE CONDITIONS QUICKLY. Your support and cooperation is essential and greatly appreciated.

How You Can Help....

Ahead of the snow falling:

  • Pay attention to weather forecasts.
  • Familiarize yourself with snow emergency information and parking rules.
  • Find a location to move your vehicle.
  • Check the City’s website for current information.

While the snow is falling: 

  • Monitor snow accumulation.
  • Check the City’s website and/or phone numbers for a snow emergency declaration.
  • Move your vehicle according to snow emergency parking rules.
  • Visit, phone, or email your neighbors to remind them of parking rules.

After the snow falls:

  • Remove snow and ice from your sidewalk within 24 hours of snowfall.
  • Remove snow near fire hydrants.
  • Check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
  • Be sure trash and recycling containers are visible and not buried under snow.

Snow Parking Information

Stay Up-to-Date during Snow Emergencies

The Snow Center contains a summary for snow related information, including impact on City Offices, Schools and public services.

Gloucester issues Smart911 Emergency Alerts as well as updating the news section of the Homepage.

Subscribe to Smart911 Emergency Alerts

Subscribe to News Alerts from

Snow Emergencies

During a snow event the Mayor may declare a snow or ice emergency (City of Gloucester Ordinance Section 22-178). During this time parking on public and private ways within the city is banned. Notification of this parking ban is sent to the Gloucester Daily Times, Cape Ann TV, Beacon, Globe, WBZ TV, WBZ Radio, WCVB, WHDH, and NECN. There are also blue lights located at City Hall Tower (all four sides), the Boulevard (near Fishermen Wives Statue), Magnolia Fire Station, Bayview Fire Station, and Flannagan’s Gas Station. When these lights are on, there is a parking ban in effect.

You can also use the Notify Me function of this web site to be informed of alerts when they are posted. Choose the ’Weather/Environmental’ item under the ’Alert Center’ heading.

Parking Restrictions

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 our efforts by parking your vehicle in conformance with the winter parking ban.

Where Can I Park?

Off-street parking areas include (City of Gloucester Ordinance Section 22-288):

  • I4C2/Harbor Parking Lot (near Gloucester House Restaurant)
  • Main Street Parking Lot (across from Halibut Point, next to Nelson's)
  • Manuel F. Lewis Parking Lot (Behind the Rose Baker Senior Center)
  • Pleasant Street Parking Lot
  • St. Peter’s Square (Town Landing Parking Lot)
  • Fitz Hugh Lane Lot (Rogers Street next to TD Bank)
  • Boynton Way Lot (off Rogers Street directly behind Castaways).
  • City Hall Parking Lot
  • Sawyer Free Library Parking Lot
  • School parking lots may be used in a snow emergency (due to flooding concerns, please do not use the lower parking lot at the high school) - Please note that the Veterans School Lot is currently unavailable

Please be advised that per Section 22-178, Authority of the Mayor to declare snow or ice emergencies, the time frame in which cars are to be removed will be announced by the Mayor.

  Vehicles parked in parking lots must shovel their cars out of the space.

Other Rules/Ordinances

Please be aware that the City of Gloucester is authorized to remove any vehicle that interferes with the removal of snow and ice (City of Gloucester Ordinance Section 22-179). Removal costs shall be paid by the owner of the vehicle.

Citizens of Gloucester are required per ordinance (Section 21-19 and 20) to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of their homes/businesses.

Please call the Department of Public Works at (978) 325-5600 for information or questions concerning snow and ice removal.


Snow Plowing

The following is a general description of how the Department of Public Works plows snow from City streets:

Step 1 - When a snow storm begins, the DPW responds by salting the main roads and bus routes. Salting these roadways serves two purposes: to keep traffic moving, and to prevent the snow from bonding to the pavement.

Step 2 - Snow plowing begins when snow accumulates two (2) inches, or forecasts indicate that it will. Over 70 city and private plows can be called out and assigned to plow pre-determined routes. The City’s policy is to plow the full width of the street, curb to curb, during each storm.

Step 3 - Once snowfall has stopped and plowing is winding down, salt trucks begin post-storm salting.

· Main streets and bus routes are salted to achieve bare pavement conditions.

· Residential streets with hills are salted to improve traction.

· Flat streets are salted only if icy conditions exist.


Public Works will focus on school walking routes and areas of commerce at the conclusion of a snow event. Once these areas are addressed, crews will address other priority walking routes city-wide.


While we try to minimize the amount of snow that gets plowed into driveways it is unavoidable. Clearing driveway openings is the responsibility of the property owner.

  • Plow blades cannot be lifted as they pass by a driveway.
  • Snow will be plowed into driveways as we perform curb-to-curb plowing.
  • You may wish to clear your driveway several times during the storm or wait until the storm and plowing activities have ended.
  • Shoveling, plowing or snow blowing snow back into the street when clearing driveways and sidewalks is prohibited by city ordinance. Violators will be fined.


There are over 1,500 fire hydrants in Gloucester. Please help us by shoveling around the hydrant near your home. This will enable the Gloucester Fire Department better access to fire hydrants in emergency situations.


Plowing snow from Gloucester’s 160 miles of public and private streets, municipal parking lots, buildings and schools is a formidable task. It involves coordinating many private and publicly owned plows, mechanics, and route supervisors to inspect and control plowing activities and other support personnel. The hours can be extraordinarily long, with operations conducted during the most severe 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.

Calls for service should be avoided early in a storm since it may take several hours for plows to make their way to your street. If you believe that a request for service is warranted and sufficient time has elapsed for us to have responded, please call the Department of Public Works at (978) 325-5600. This number is staffed by a Public Works supervisor who will log your complaint and relay this information to our field personnel for quick resolution. You may also report any concerns or issues using our SeeClickFix application. This application is monitored closely.

Please understand that calling (978) 325-5600 is the FASTEST WAY to get a complaint resolved.

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 quicker and more efficiently when roads are free of traffic and illegally parked vehicles.