Last week Council debated several amendments to the already heavily revised Snow Policy. The revised policy as approved by Council is here.
There was significant debate about whether the City should be plowing residential roads down to bare pavement after every snowfall. In the end Council decided that we should aim for maintaining a 5cm snow pack through blading with truck plows to minimize windrows and increase the speed and efficiency of City response after snowfalls.
Council made a decision this past spring to add 20 more truck plows to the fleet for this winter to improve response times. The new policy sets a target of 5 days from end of snowfall for a full residential cycle of blading with the truck plows.
If the City falls behind or mother nature dumps a record snowfall and it’s not possible to achieve a 5cm snowpack with one round of blading then the City will trigger full plowing to bare pavement with plows and graders as occurred last winter.
The other big item of discussion was how to deal with parking along bus routes. Installation of signs indicating “Seasonal Parking Ban: Nov 15 – Mar 15” was met with strong response from folks living along these roads, who thought a blanket ban was onerous.
In the end Council supported amendments to the Traffic Bylaw (see below) to shift away from Snow Routes which have to be declared, to a Seasonal Parking Ban which can be relaxed. Administration argued, and Council agreed, that many of the old Snow Route signs needed replacing, and so the replacement of these signs will continue this fall.
To be clear, the Seasonal Parking Ban is NOT intended to be a blanket ban as many initially feared. Rather, it can be ‘designated in effect’ when needed to facilitate plowing and windrow removal. The city will issue at least eight hours of notice that the Seasonal Parking Ban will come in effect, and will also announce when it’s no longer needed. Conventional media and social media will both be employed to carry these notices city-wide.
Cars remaining parked on these routes when the ban is in effect will be subject to towing. This is important to keeping our plows and windrow removal equipment moving efficiently.
One change Council made to the policy based on feedback about this Seasonal Ban is that alleys adjacent to streets subject to these parking restrictions will get priority attention to ensure residents are able to access on-site parking from the rear.
One thing is clear: whatever kind of winter we have, the policy and implementation will be reviewed again next year.
Bylaw 5590, the Traffic Bylaw, is amended by this bylaw. 2 Section 36 is repealed and replaced with the following:
SEASONAL PARKING BAN
A vehicle shall not be parked on a highway in any location identified as a seasonal parking ban route.
(2) This section only applies when the location identified as a seasonal parking ban route has been designated in effect by the City Manager.
(3) A vehicle parked on a highway in a location identified as a seasonal parking ban route must be removed from the location identified as a seasonal parking ban route within 8 hours of a seasonal parking route ban having been declared in effect.
3 Section 107(j) is amended by striking out “snow routes” and inserting “seasonal parking ban routes” after “truck routes, or”.