Snow Removal Policy

Snow Removal

University of Iowa Parking and Transportation is committed to providing a safe and accessible campus during inclement weather. Parking and transportation provides 24-hour coverage with three regular work shifts to assure a prompt response to winter weather. In addition to internal staff, external contractors are employed to plow and haul snow. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as our crews make every effort to keep our parking lots and ramps clear during and after winter storms.

Table of Contents:

Service Area & Requests

Surface Lots

Parking Ramps

Service Priorities

Service Areas & Requests

The University of Iowa campus parking system is compromised of more than 16,000 parking spaces distributed in seven parking structures and over fifty-five parking lots. Parking and Transportation is responsible for snow removal from these parking areas, as well as commuter lot bus shelters.

Snow removal for other areas on the University of Iowa campus is carried out by several operational units. Facilities Management, Housing & Dining, UIHC Grounds & Athletics are responsible for snow removal around campus and hospital buildings, sidewalks, and institutional roads. A map of service area responsibility is shown here and is available for larger view by clicking on the map. 

For snow removal questions or to report areas of concern, please contact the relevant snow removal unit noted below. If you are not sure of the appropriate unit to call do not hesitate to call Parking & Transportation or FM@YourService, where your information will be received are re-routed accordingly. 

Parking and Transportation, Parking Dispatch 319-335-8312
Facilities Management (FM), FM @YourService 319-335-5071
Housing & Dining, Facilities 319-335-9970
Athletics 319-335-9410
Hospital & Clinics Engineering Service, Grounds 319-356-2658


For specific Parking and Transportation snow removal issues, you can also submit an online request here: MySchoolBuilding

Surface Lots

In surface lots, snow plowing will typically begin when snow begins to fall and accumulate. Removal techniques vary based on when snow occurs. For example, snow removal in the middle of a work day requires limited removals in drive lanes and approaches because lots are typically full of vehicles, whereas overnight snow removal focuses on the entire lot where parking stalls can also be cleared.

Snow is piled either in low points or in the center of lots for later removal. Removal of snow piles in lots occurs only after snow has ceased falling and in some cases, may not be removed at all. Facility occupancy, ambient temperatures and incoming weather are all factors considered for removal.

It must be understood that lots with vehicles parked in them make it very difficult to do an adequate job in snow removal. Efforts will be first made to open areas with no vehicle traffic in an effort to make room for incoming vehicles. Employees, students and visitors may be directed to park on one side, or in designated areas during snow removal operations.

For parking lots that see little turnover at night, Parking and Transportation will schedule special now removal sessions to remove snow piles behind and between cars. Examples of lots included in this are Lot 39 (Hawkeye Storage) or Lot 56 (Mayflower Residence Hall). Permit holders will be notified by email and social media when these clearing sessions are scheduled. Cars will need to be temporarily relocated for the work to take place. Specifics about relocations will be included in permit holder communications. 

Parking Ramps

Parking ramps require special care for winter conditions due to unique limitations such as ramp height clearance, structural considerations and intense customer utilization during business hours. Snow accumulation on ramp rooftops is a large concern as the snow and ice weight can cause excessive loading and ultimately damage the structure. The ramp concrete surface temperature, similar to bridges and overpasses, is typically colder than ground and ambient temperatures resulting in hazardous conditions for pedestrians and vehicles.

When snow or hazardous conditions are imminent, Parking & Transportation will close ramp rooftops for public safety and/or for access to remove snow and ice. Heavy snowfall is difficult to push/plow and may have to be immediately removed (rather than piled) due to structure weight limits. In the case of ice, short-term closures may be necessary until deicing materials become effective. In either case, it is not safe for customers or their vehicles to be in the area due to the hazardous walking surface or proximity to active snow removal procedures.

Unlike surface lots, snow removal on ramp rooftops begins only after the snow event ends. Snow is piled in pre-determined areas that can support the weight of the snow and later is either hauled away, dumped over the side or melted. For the safety of the public and Parking & Transportation staff, snow dumping occurs only during the night time hours.

Service Priorities

While Parking & Transportation views the entire parking system as a service priority, some areas, due to frequent and urgent use, are serviced first. During the winter season, weather is constantly monitored, conditions at each parking location are assessed and staff / contractors are dispatched based on service needs. Each snow and ice event must be addressed uniquely based on several factors such as day of the week, time of day and in acknowledgement of various campus considerations:

  • UIHC - patient and visitor access to medical care
  • Academic Operation - are classes active, in winter break, etc
  • University Events - Admissions, Orientation, Conferences, Hancher performances
  • Sporting Events - Football, Basketball, Wrestling, Tournaments, etc
  • Forecast - Duration of storm, amount of accumulation, temperatures

We strive to reduce the effects of snow and ice as quickly and effectively as our resources and the unpredictability of Iowa winters will allow.