Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Ward 33 E-Blast November 16th
With winter weather just around the corner, the Ward 33 team would like to send out a friendly reminder to residents about the winter service standards for the City of Toronto, and specifically for neighbourhoods in North York.
In delivering these services, the goal of the City of Toronto is to maintain safe and passable transportation networks including sidewalks, local streets, arterial roads, expressways and TTC routes. Winter services in the City involve 3 key elements: de-icing, plowing, and snow removal.
The City uses rock salt and other products such as sand to provide traction and encourage melting during icy conditions. Expressways (such as the DVP), and arterials (such as Sheppard Ave. E.) are salted within 2-4 hrs of the onset of icy conditions. Collectors (such as Van Horne Ave and Brian Drive) and primary service routes are salted within 4-6 hrs, while local roads (such as George Henry Blvd and Edmonton Drive) will be salted within 8-12 hrs of icy conditions. The City has also begun phasing in the practice of anti-icing where a salt brine solution is applied to road surfaces in advance of an oncoming storm. This causes faster de-icing and reduces the volume of rock salt needed during the storm.
For more information on de-icing, check out the City’s Salt Management Plan.
The City prioritizes expressways, arterials, collectors, and TTC Routes for snow plowing. On these roads, plowing continues until the end of the storm until all roads have been cleared. Expressways will start to be cleared once there is snow accumulation of between 2.5 cm to 5 cm and main roads and collector road ploughing will be initiated after 5 cm of snow has fallen. Clean-up operations on these roads, including curb clearing, parking space clearing, and bus bay clearing, will follow immediately after plowing and will typically take 24hrs after the end of the snowfall to complete.
For local streets, plowing begins after 8cm of snow has accumulated, and should be completed within 14-16 hours after the storm ends (i.e. if it starts snowing at 5:00 p.m. and stops at 7:00 p.m., plowing will begin at 7:00 p.m. with the goal of clearing all snow within 14-16 hours). The timeline may vary depending on the amount of snow that has fallen.
Unlike many other areas in Toronto, neighbourhoods in North York receive sidewalk plowing services from the City. Mechanical sidewalk clearing is performed in high volume pedestrian routes (arterial roads, school zones, transit areas) after 8 cm (Nov, & April) and after 2 cm (Dec, Jan, Feb & March) of snow has fallen. Low volume pedestrian routes (collector roads and local roads) will be cleared after 8 cm has fallen. While the City does provide these clearing services, the City also requests that homeowners do their part in dealing with minor accumulation on sidewalks in front of their property. The City also offers sidewalk clearing services for seniors and those with permanent disabilities. For more information on this service, please call 416-395-6303 or 311.
In addition to roads and sidewalks, the City also provides windrow clearing in North York. A windrow is the build up of snow at the end of driveways caused by recent plowing. Windrow clearing provides an opening of 3m per driveway, and there may be a small snow ridge of 8-10cm left after this is done. If operators encounter parked cars or other obstacles, windrow clearing may not be possible, so please be aware of when clearing may occur. Windrow clearing begins immediately after plowing is finished and may take up to 16 hrs to complete. Windrow clearing service is also the reason that parking is not allowed on many side streets between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. in the winter – on-street parking creates obstacles for the successful and full completion of snow clearing.
When there has been a large volume of snow accumulation, it may not be possible to clear roads by simply pushing snow to the curb. In these circumstances, the City provides snow removal, where snow is collected and moved to dumping location. This is a costly process and is therefore not the first solution the City relies on.After 20-30cm of snow, expressways will be plowed on an ongoing basis until the snow has stopped and the roads are clear. This may take up to 3 days. For arterial and collector roads, partial snow removal begins after 20cm of accumulation, and full time snow removal begins after 30cm of snow. Snow removal for arterial and collector roads may take up to 2 weeks to complete. Finally, local roads (including cul-de-sacs and laneways) receive snow removal after more than 30cm of snow accumulation, which may take up to 3 weeks to complete. Often in our Ward, snow is piled in out-of-the-way areas in cul-de-sacs rather than removed completely due to the high cost of removal. If snow is piled into a bank in front of your home, or in a way that blocks your driveway, please call 311 or our office to report this. Our office keeps a list of areas where this has happened previously and flags these areas for the manager of snow removal before the winter season begins.
Track snow plows and salting live at PLOWTO.