This post is a follow up from my Snow Policy Must Change post.
Yesterday at Transportation and Public Works committee we debated the proposed new Snow Policy. My comment to the head of Transportation was “I couldn’t have written this better myself.” It calls for just what I called for back in January, specifically: a 5cm snow pack instead of the 10cm pack maintenance, which hasn’t worked. The full report is here.
This appendix entitled Cost Summary of Residential Plowing indicating that we’re budgeting $2.4 million to maintain the 10cm pack under current policy. The proposed 5cm snow pack standard would cost $800,000 more annually, which is pretty reasonable.
Plowing to bare pavement without removal (i.e. with large windrows) would cost $6.6 million more per year than what we spend now, or $8 million per year. Plowing to bare pavement and removing the windrows would cost more than ten times what we’re spending annually ($8M for plowing, $15M for trucking, $2M for snow site operation), plus the development of an additional four snow storage sites at $25 million a pop. Not so reasonable.
City staff also undertook extensive public consultation work confirming there is little support for a bare-pavement policy, and broad support for maintaining a snow pack and limiting windrows.
The new policy clarifies that windrows less than 30cm high on driveways will be the adjacent property owner’s responsibility to clear, while windrows 30cm and above higher than this will be cleared by the city.
The policy was recommended to Council and will likely be confirmed next week. We’ll need to find the $800,000 in resources, but Council should be able to find this in the 2011 budget without much, if any, impact upon the tax levy.
The most relevant text in the new policy reads as follows:
- In any given snow event , a city-wide residential plowing program will be initiated (including Alleys ) immediately after the Arterial and Collector road network has been plowed and considered to be in safe condition. Residential Roads will be bladed to a 5 cm snow pack condition.
- When rutting or snow drifting occurs residential roadways will be bladed to maintain a level snow pack condition.
- Service level will only involve the blading of snow. Windrows ( less than 30 cm in height) left behind blocking driveways will be the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. Windrows (more than 30cm in height) left behind will be cleared as to not block driveways.
- Snow will not be hauled away.
- Notification of residential blading or plowing will be announced through the media. A parking ban will not be used.
- Plowing to bare pavement on residential roads may be initiated at the discretion of the City Manager. Bare pavement shall include:
- All driveways, crosswalks and corners will be opened.
- Where windrows of snow are created they will not be hauled away.
- In cul de sacs snow will be stacked in the centre and hauled away.
- Alleys are not covered under city-wide bare pavement policy.
The committee asked for more information about the terms under which the last clause about plowing to bare pavement would cause the City Manager to exercise that discretion.