Tips for when the snow starts to fly on campus

With the calendar about to turn to December and significant snow yet to fall on campus, it may be hard to believe -- but winter is coming.

Knowing where to park when lots are covered in the white stuff will help you -- and the facilities planning and management (FPM) crews that clear lots. Drivers are asked to not park in their usual parking lots until they have been cleared of snow. Several lots are designated where all parking permits are honored:

  • Iowa State Center commuter lots C and D (avoid CYTown construction)
  • North of Molecular Biology (lots 29 and 30)
  • North of General Services Building (lot 41)

Anyone parking at the Iowa State Center can ride CyRide to campus. The free #23 Orange route runs at five- to 10-minute intervals. During significant weather events, CyRide adds buses to routes to assist the campus community. The MyState app allows users to track their CyRide bus and limit time spent outdoors.

FPM crews follow six priorities for clearing snow and ice:

  • Roadways serving university facilities
  • Parking lots: Accessible spaces, then permit spaces and general spaces
  • Main walkways traversing campus and leading to main building entrances
  • Main building entrances and accessible entrances
  • Secondary sidewalks (those not in the primary route to campus facilities but instead leading to side or back doors)
  • Secondary building entrances, including side and back entrances and limited-access exits

Employees may use the online report a problem form or call 4-5100 to let FPM know about spots where ice or snow are a concern.

Safe travels

Environmental health and safety (EHS) staff developed posters (PDF format) and a video on walking safely in winter conditions. EHS offers five tips for walking on snow or ice:

  • Plan ahead to give yourself time
  • Wear shoes or boots with good traction
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles, entering or leaving buildings and climbing or descending stairs
  • Walk on designated walkways
  • Use short steps or shuffle for stability

In addition to proper footwear, dressing for the weather is important. Dress in layers with a first layer that can wick wetness away from skin quickly. Wearing a hat and gloves also keeps heat from escaping your body.

Employees and students may use the salt/sand shakers located in many building entrances to treat problem areas. If more salt/sand is needed, call 4-5100.

Warm start to November

Mild November weather gave FPM staff time to prepare for the first significant snowfall. Campus services senior manager Barb Steiner said blades and brooms were checked and attached to equipment, and sanders are ready and inspected. The extra time allowed new staff to familiarize themselves with the buildings and routes they'll be responsible for clearing.

When the weather cooperates, she said crews also will continue to work on campus landscapes for their spring debut, including removing and mulching leaves from shrub beds. Crews also are cutting back perennial gardens and moving trees from the nursery and horticulture farm to campus locations. This fall, holiday lights went up on the tree east of Beardshear during 60 degree weather, saving a few fingers from the bitter cold of previous years.