Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – As long as we have a plan

Here is what the City is doing to manage winter maintenance this year.

Below you will find useful information on snow removal, parking bans (and what they mean) and what to do if there are snow concerns on your street. 

As always, I am here to help so please do not hesitate to reach out to me by calling, 613-580-2482 or emailing me at Mathieu.fleury@ottawa.ca

March 9

It must be spring because we are seeing an increased demand for pothole repairs.  We will be taking advantage of warm weather expected over the next few days as all available resources will be deployed to open catch basins and to fill potholes.

Residents can expect to see our Roads and Parking team members out in full force across the City as we begin some of our spring road maintenance operations before temperatures drop again.  

Clearing Catch Basins        

Catch basins allow water to drain from the road.  They are a critical piece of infrastructure and can be found on the edge of the roadway, or inside the edge of a sidewalk.  They are not found in the centre of the roadway.  In late winter and spring, we want our catch basins to be open and clear of ice and debris so that water can drain from the road.  When the water is flowing off the roads, it is not freezing on the road, and its not making its way onto resident properties.  We ask for resident support to clear their local catch basin as a proactive measure.  Residents can find where their local catch basin is online, or by looking for the yellow “T” markings on the roadway.

During significant rain events or melts, our Roads and Parking team may go into local communities to open up catch basins.  Using backhoes, plows and even shovels, they will clear known problem areas or blocked basins of ice to open them up again.  Residents who spot significant water accumulation that won’t drain or who need assistance in clearing a catch basin can report it online.

Filling Potholes

Potholes are formed when water or melted snow gets into small cracks or holes in the road.  The water freezes as temperatures drop, pushing the pavement up and creating a hole which can be pushed down when cars travel over it.  Over time, the hole can grow causing potholes.

Based on the forecast, we are anticipating several freeze-thaw cycles over the next few weeks. Our Roads and Parking teams will be out throughout the spring to fill the potholes.  Potholes are filled by cleaning the hole of debris and water, then packing the hole with asphalt and rolling it or pounding it down.  At this time of year, some potholes in high traffic areas may need to be refilled more than once.  This is not due to poor asphalt or workmanship, but can happen if water gets back into the hole preventing the asphalt from forming an adhesive bond with the existing pavement.   

Residents can expect to see our asphalting teams deployed across the City in the coming weeks filling potholes. For residents wishing to report a pothole, please create a Service Request online.

Ottawa is not unique in facing water and pothole challenges in spring.  Our winter climate and frequent freeze / thaw cycles are hard on infrastructure, and we appreciate the support of residents as our Roads and Parking teams work to complete our operations.

March 3

March continues to roar in.  Residents are waking up to more snow than expected – between 8 and 15 cm depending on which part of the City they live in.  We are anticipating light flurries throughout the day, and rising temperatures.  Tonight, the temperatures will drop again to approximately -14 degrees.

Roads and Parking staff were out as snow began to fall to begin clearing our priority roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network. The snow fell quickly and was heavy, and our mains remain snowy and slushy.  Residents should expect a wet and slower commute this morning.

Our teams will continue to clear and treat our priority roads, sidewalks and winter cycling network.  Early this morning, we will also be deploying our teams into our local communities to complete a residential plow run.  It is necessary for us to stay on top of our accumulation today as temperatures rise and to clear roadways before it freezes up tonight causing potentially hazardous situations.

Throughout the day, residents can expect to see windrows blocking some residential streets, corners, cross walks, activated signals and bus stops.  Staff have been deployed to clear these areas today and will continue overnight tonight to clean them up.

We did not call a winter weather parking ban today due to the suddenness of the storm and greater than expected accumulation.  We are asking that any residents who are able to please remove their vehicle from the roadway to allow our teams to clear the roads more efficiently.  For those who have waste collection day today, please place your bins in your driveway and not on the roadway or sidewalk to avoid obstructing our efforts. 

March 1

March is certainly making its entrance known.  There is a full mixed bag of weather ahead of us.  Your Roads and Parking Services team is ready to respond to the changing conditions.

Catch Basins

Since this morning, all available teams are out in the community addressing catch basin issues.  Our teams are targeting known problems areas and resident concerns.  At this time, our focus is to have teams on the road and opening up basins.  We ask for resident patience as we respond to Service Requests.  

Winter Weather 

We are aware of a snow squall watch put into effect by Environment Canada.  Our forecasters are also suggesting parts of our City could experience white out conditions late afternoon, just as the commute begins.  Conditions are such that we could see a significant and intense burst of snow, wind and dangerous conditions.  Our team will immediately respond to the conditions, working to keep roads safe, but we are asking residents to exercise extreme caution if a snow squall does occur.  Please, stay off the road if possible, and if you must go out, drive to the conditions of the road.

Snow Removal

In some areas of the City, snow removal is taking place.  This operation does double duty of opening up congested roadways and clearing catch basins.  Snow removal is a planned operation that is critical at this time of year to open roadways and to remove snow that would otherwise melt causing pooling conditions.

It is going to be a busy day out there.  We appreciate the support of residents who are proactively opening their local catch basins and supporting our winter operations.

February 27 – Afternoon

Mother Nature decided we needed more snow, not rain.  Since this morning, we have seen up to 10 cm of snow in some areas of the City.  The rain we were expecting arrived as snow which has led to the increased accumulation.  Snow is still falling in many areas.

Our teams were out clearing and treating the main and arterial roads, sidewalks and winter cycling network as soon as the accumulation of snow began to build.  Work will continue through the afternoon.  

Later this afternoon and throughout the evening, as our priorities are cleared, our teams will be in local neighbourhoods to complete a residential plow run.  This will happen at different times throughout the City depending on the amount of snow received, and our ability to clear our priority networks.  Because more snow arrived more quickly than anticipated, we are not calling a winter weather parking ban, but we are asking all residents who can to please remove their vehicles from the roadways.  This will allow our teams to clear the roads more efficiently and effectively.  

The work we are doing today is critical.  We want to get as much snow off the road as possible, and to open up roadways ahead of tomorrow’s thaw.  Temperatures are expected to rise to 5 degrees or more, which will lead to significant melting and running water on roadways.  Our work today will help the roads to drain and to open up the catch basins to receive running water.  If you are able to, please ensure your local catch basin is open – helping the water where to go where it belongs as snow melts

Due to the fluctuating temperatures, ice has formed in snowbanks. Residents may experience heavy snow and icy windrows while clearing.

This time of year is known for it’s unpredictable weather.  We appreciate your support as we work to address changing conditions.

February 27 – Morning

After the snow comes the rain. We are expecting a mix of snow turning into rain later today. More of those conditions are also anticipated later on Sunday. 

This mix of precipitation combined with warmer temperatures means residents will see running water.  We’re asking for their support where possible, to ensure that catch basins are clear of snow and debris so they can receive the melted snow and rain.  When the water can exit the roadway, we have fewer issues with water ponding and ice building up when temperatures drop overnight.

Our teams will be out on main and arterial roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network throughout the day if we see snow accumulations.  We will also be focused on opening catch basins. 

February 26th

Rideau River Flood Control

This weekend our Roads and Parking team will be undertaking blasting on the Rideau River.  This unique process, in place since the late 1890s, puts our team on the ice – first to cut it, then to blast it – all in an effort to prevent flooding in the communities along the River.  Their work eliminates the risk of ice jamming.

Our Rideau River Flood Control team is a small group of up to 16 staff who are highly skilled and specially trained to safely manage the River each spring.  They work in partnership with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority to manage ice breaking and clearing operations during the freshet (when water flow is at its peak).  This allows water to flow unrestricted and to alleviate possible spring flooding.

Work begins in earnest in February as the team assembles to prepare to break up the Rideau River.  The team assembles at the Rideau Falls where the Rideau River meets the Ottawa River.  Constant monitoring of conditions and timing is essential to knowing when the work is safe to be done.  

First it is necessary to clear the ice, removing the snow that may be built up on the River.  Then, the team cuts “keys” into the ice – creating long thin strips, like piano keys – that will eventually pass through the falls in a planned pathway.  Blasting is then undertaken near the falls to push the “keys” over the falls opening up the River.  

The River, between the Falls at Sussex Drive through to Hog’s Back, will be broken up using key cutting and blasting.  The Amphibious Excavator can be seen working on the Ottawa River to break ice and create areas to receive the water coming in from the Rideau. Later, it will move to the Rideau River to break up the ice past the Minto Bridge.  The process will continue through the month of March or until the River levels have been reduced and the risk of flooding lowered.

The blasting of the Rideau River will begin this Saturday.  Residents in the area have been notified of the work, and all Ottawa residents are reminded to stay off the Rideau River and to stay back from the banks to avoid the risk of injury or drowning.  

The Rideau River blasting is an exciting time – not just because it’s thrilling to see, but also because it signifies the beginning of spring.

For more information about the Rideau River Flood Control, please visit Ottawa.ca.

Special advisory: winter weather parking ban in effect on February 25 from 7 am to 7 pm

Ottawa – Due to weather conditions, the winter weather parking ban will be in effect on Thursday, February 25 between 7 am and 7 pm across Ottawa. These hours might be extended if additional time is needed to complete winter road operations.

During a winter weather parking ban, parking is prohibited on city streets so crews can plow easily and effectively. Vehicles parked on the street during a ban may be ticketed and towed. On-street monthly parking permit holders are exempt from this restriction when they are parked in residential parking permit zones.

Available parking

During winter weather parking bans, residents will have access to select OC Transpo park and rides. Visit ottawa.ca for more information about which City facilities are available during winter weather parking bans.

Commercial main streets

To help residents shop local, some commercial main streets are exempt from winter parking bans. When a parking ban is called during winter weather events, residents can park in the identified areas (view maps) as long as they observe all posted signage and pay and display requirements.

Be in the know about snow

Follow us on Twitter @ottawacity to receive updates or subscribe to our electronic email alerts. If you subscribe to e-Alerts, you will receive notification each time a winter weather parking ban is put in place, extended or lifted. There is no charge for this service, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Sign up today at ottawa.ca.

For more winter parking information, please visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401).

For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Winter Operations Update – Tuesday, February 23 – Afternoon

Last night, we saw additional snow in our communities.  Between 2 and 7 cm has been reported.  This afternoon we are expecting additional precipitation which could fall as rain or snow.  Warm pavement temperatures mean that whatever falls is expected to melt on contact causing wet and slushy conditions for commuters.

Our teams will be working throughout the day to treat and clear roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling and to open catch basins.  Throughout the City, including in our residential areas, plows will be out clearing and / or treating roads ahead of more rainy and snowy weather tomorrow and Thursday before the temperatures drop significantly.  

Our goal is to clear and drain as much of the snow off the road as possible.  Getting the melting snow off the road will help us to avoid ice build-up when temperatures drop.  

Those residents who are able are asked to please clear your nearest catch basin of snow and debris to help your local roadway to drain.  It is also helpful to our operations when those who can, remove their cars from the roadway.

Thank you for your support.

Winter Operations Update – February 22 – Afternoon

Snow is still lightly falling in Ottawa, though we did not receive the accumulation we expected. Roads for the commute home will be wet and slushy.

Our teams continue to work to keep priority roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network clear and treated.  Work will continue through the evening.

Due to the lack of accumulation, combined with warm road temperatures melting snow, we are NOT calling a winter weather parking ban at this time.  Our Supervisors will continue to monitor conditions through the evening.

Our teams will be out working through the evening.  If you are able to support our operations by removing your car from the street, and opening up your local catch basin, it would be appreciated.  

Have a good evening,

Winter Operations Update – February 22 – Morning

We are anticipating that today’s snow will be arriving later this morning and will be heaviest throughout the afternoon and into the early evening.  Our forecasters are predicting 6 – 8 cm of snow could fall before the event is over early tomorrow morning.

Although we are expecting heavy, wet snow to fall, our pavement temperatures should be warm enough that some of the snow will melt on contact.  Warm pavement temperatures, combined with wet snow means that residents can expect to see running water.   We’re asking for their support where possible, to ensure that catch basins are clear of snow and debris so they can receive the melted snow.  When thewater can exit the roadway, we have fewer issues with ice building up when temperatures do drop later in the week.

Our teams will be out on main and arterial roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network throughout the day.  We anticipate multiple passes will be needed to treat and clear snow and we will be focused on sidewalks to manage snow and water accumulation.  The commute home is likely to be snowy and wet, and we ask residents to drive to the conditions of the roadway, and to give our vehicles 3 car lengths of space.

At this time, with the snow accumulation expected to be reduced by warm temperatures, we do not anticipate calling a winter weather parking ban.  We think that we can manage the snow, when combined with warmer temperatures in our residential areas.  We will be monitoring conditions throughout the day and will make a final call about a potential winter weather parking ban around 3 pm.  Residents wanting to be alerted to upcoming parking bans are reminded to sign-up for e-alerts at Ottawa.ca.

Where Does All That Snow Go? – February 11

Last week, we shared information about our City’s snow clearing and snow removal operations.  Residents saw our teams out blowing, hauling and clearing snow to open up roadways and to ensure resident safety. In most areas of the City, our snow removal operations have been completed.  Residents may see the odd team out addressing concerns or local issues that make it necessary to remove snow.

As a reminder, snow removal is a planned operation. It is also one of our most expensive operations.  Our teams will identify areas of concern based on their road patrols to ensure compliance with our maintenance quality standards.  Residents cannot request snow removal and residents are responsible for ensuring their own safe sightlines at the end of driveways.

Where did all that snow go?

Snow removal requires us to physically remove the snow from roadways so they remain open and clear for safe travel.  If there is no room to cast the snow, then it needs to be removed. During snow removal, a blower blows the snow into the back of a dump truck or tri-axel truck to be taken to a City-run snow disposal facility – also known as a snow dump.  As part of the snow removal process, the small no parking signs are chewed up by our machines and spit out into the trucks.  We do not remove the signs ahead of clearing because it is dangerous and time consuming for our teams to be working directly in front of the blades.  Instead, we use materials that are safe for the environment and allow them to compost at the snow storage facility or to be cleaned up as part of our debris pick-up.

Teams of trucks line up waiting for their turn to be filled. Then they make their way to the nearest snow disposal facility to dump the snow before returning to accept another load of snow.  A grader and sidewalk machine follows behind the snow removal team to ensure that the roads and sidewalks are clear of that thin layer of snow left behind our snow blower.

The snow dumps only accept snow from our approved operations, or those from our provincial roadway partners.  We have seven snow disposal facilities across the City.  Each facility is carefully managed to ensure the safety of the truck operators who come in to drop their loads of snow, and to ensure residents cannot access the sites.

Residents may think a snow disposal facility would be a lot of fun to play in, but that’s not the case.  The snow our trucks collect is heavy and icy.  It contains all sorts of waste that may have been on the road when our blower went by – including garbage, sand and salt, grease and oil drippings from cars.  Our snow is stored in a contained site so that when the snow does melt, it does not negatively impact the environment.

Did you Know?

Over the past five years, our snow disposal facilities have accepted on average, just over 1,614,629 cubic meters of snow each season.  That’s like filling 645 Olympic size swimming pools each season! Last year, many of our facilities still had snow piles melting into August.  Once the snow has completely melted, the sites are cleaned to remove debris and prepared for the next season’s snow deposits.

Resident Support

Snow removal is one of the most significant operations our teams undertake in winter.  Residents can help make our efforts more efficient by:

  • Observing all posted snow removal signage and keeping their cars off the road 
    • Failing to do so could result in a fine and / or tow
  • Stay back from our working equipment 
    • Equipment is large, and the snow is blowing with a lot of force which could injure anyone standing too close
  • Ensure your waste bins and bags of garbage are placed in your driveway and not on snowbanks or in the sidewalk 
    • This will allow our teams to work more efficiently.

Winter Operations Update – Monday February 8

On Sunday, we saw approximately 4 cm of light snow that fell throughout the day.  It was enough snow that our teams were dispatched to clear main and arterial roads, sidewalls and the winter cycling network.  They continued their work throughout the evening, preparing our communities for a safe and clear morning commute. Areas with higher snow accumulation may have seen snow equipment in their residential areas clearing and / or treating roads and sidewalks.  

Today, residents can expect to see our teams out continuing to clear and treat sidewalks and clearing sightlines, intersections, crosswalks and bus stops.  

Tomorrow, Tuesday, another winter weather event will arrive in Ottawa.  At this time, forecasters are calling for approximately 5 cm of snow to fall on the City.  Initially, our teams will respond to our priority roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network.  We will then work on clean-up.  Our Supervisors will be monitoring residential road conditions to determine if a full plow run is required.  At this time, we are not anticipating calling a winter weather parking ban.

We always appreciate the support of residents during winter weather events.  When cars are removed from roadways we can complete our operations more effectively.  We also appreciate when waste bins are placed in driveways and not on snowbanks or in the path of our sidewalk equipment as this allows them to pass by unobstructed.

Winter Operations Update – Wednesday February 5

Our weather forecasters are predicting that we could see up to 6 cm of wet snow today.  The heaviest snow will be falling this morning before tapering off later this afternoon.  

Our vehicles were deployed on main roads, arterials and sidewalks, as well as the winter cycling network as the snow began. 

Our Roads and Parking team will be out throughout the day clearing snow and applying material to ensure a safe commute home tonight. Rising daytime temperatures and warm pavement temperatures mean that roads and sidewalks we have treated will be slushy and wet.  Our teams will be working to get as much clearing done as possible before the night’s cold temperatures arrive.

Overnight, our teams will be monitoring road conditions and treating any icy conditions that resulted when temperatures drop.  We will be clearing and cleaning up at intersections, crosswalks, and bus stops and addressing any trouble spots.  

Any residents who are able to are asked to please clear their catch basins.  This will allow any melting snow to drain from the road and could prevent ice from forming. 

If it is your waste collection day, please move bins into your driveway, away from snowbanks and the sidewalks, so our sidewalk machines can pass by safely. 

Winter Operations Update – Wednesday February 3

Overnight, we saw between 1 cm and 20 cm of snow.  Areas to the west of the City saw less than 1 cm of snow, the City’s Core and East between 3-4 cm and our South end between 10 and 20 cm of snow.  The storm was unpredictable, and pockets of our City may have seen higher accumulations than their neighbours.

Throughout the night, our teams worked to clear and treat main and arterial roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network.  Residents should expect a slower than normal commute and slushy, snow covered roads.  Residents are reminded to drive to the conditions of the road.

Today, clean-up activities will take place ahead of the evening commute.  Residents are asked to please remove cars from their roadway wherever possible to support our operations.

In our City’s South end, where we saw the significant snowfall, a full residential plow run will be taking place.  Residents will know this is their area if they see more than 7 cm of snow on the ground. We are asking those residents to please remove all vehicles from the roadway as our equipment will be out first thing this morning and working throughout the day.

All residents are asked to please place their waste collection bins in their driveway and not in snowbanks or on the sidewalk as this will ensure our vehicles can clear the area without interference. 

Winter Weather Update – Tuesday February 2

A significant snow event is currently circulating in Eastern Canada.  While Ottawa is not in the direct path, we are on the edge of the event.  As a result, we are having some challenges knowing how much snow Ottawa will receive in the next 24 hours.  Our forecasters are predicting 3 – 6 cm, though a slight change in winds could bring a higher accumulation.

As always, our team remains ready to respond.  When the snow begins, our snow removal operations will cease and we will move to snow clearing.  We will begin with main roads, arterials, sidewalks and the winter cycling network.  Snow will be cleared and materials applied to support a safe commute this evening.  Residents should expect a slower than normal commute home.

Our Supervisors will be on the roads through the evening and night to ensure we are responding to the conditions of the road and keeping them safe for residents.

Should we see a significant change in weather, we will provide an update.

Winter Weather Update – February 1

Snow Clearing vs. Snow Removal

The City of Ottawa has seen over 88 cm of snow this season – the majority of which has fallen in the month of January.

Snow accumulation like this means that our teams will undertake snow removal in some communities.  Snow removal is a planned event that requires us to physically remove snow from an area and truck it to a snow storage facility.  Snow removal is different than snow clearing, which occurs as snow is falling or immediately after a snowfall, to move the snow from the roadway to the side of the road or to the City’s right of way.

As roads narrow or as snow builds up, we have several options. In some communities, we are able to cast the snow from the roadway onto the City’s right of way and store it there. This is a safe operation which allows us to open roads without hauling snow away.  Residents will know casting is taking place when they see the large blowers blowing snow off roads and sidewalks and onto open lawns or greenspace.

We undertake snow removal when our road width becomes too narrow to support safe travel and no snow storage space exists. When removal is required, work begins on arterials before moving to residentials.  We do not remove snow to support clean driveways – homeowners are responsible for ensuring they have clear sightlines as they exit their property.  

Snow removal is the most expensive operation our Roads and Parking team must undertake and is carefully planned and timed.  Residents will know it is taking place when they see temporary no parking signage in their community, and line-ups of large trucks with snow being blown into the boxes.

Resident Support is Required

We are currently engaged in snow removal activities.  Residents are asked to observe the posted signage and to remove their vehicles from the roadway as per the signage.  Failing to do so may result in your vehicle being towed.  Following our snow removal operations, a sidewalk machine is deployed to clear and treat the sidewalks in the area to ensure it remains safe for resident travel.

While the operations are really exciting to watch, we do ask that all residents, and especially children, give the vehicles space to do their work.  Please stay a safe distance back.

Winter Weather Update – January 27

Overnight, our City saw between 5 and 15 cm of snow.  Light flurries continue to fall and we could see up to 1 cm of additional snow before it ends around 11 am this morning.

Our overnight teams were out clearing and treating our main roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network.  Roads remain snow-covered this morning and residents are reminded to exercise caution during the morning commute.  The day shift has arrived and have begun a second pass on those roads and sidewalks  to clear remaining snow and to apply salt and grit as temperatures rise.  Later today, teams will be working to clear intersections, corners, bus stops and crosswalks.

The remainder of our staff are out in the residential areas clearing.  Residential plow runs began around 7 am and residents can expect to see our equipment and sidewalk machines in their communities throughout the day.  While we did not call a winter weather parking ban due to the snow accumulation exceeding what had been anticipated, we are asking all residents to please remove their vehicles from the roadway to facilitate our winter operations.  

At this time, all available operators are out on the roads, and it is not necessary to create a service request for snow clearing.   

If today is your waste collection day, we ask you to please place bins in your driveway, back from the roadway and sidewalk so that our plows and sidewalk equipment can clear without interference.

Winter Weather Update – January 26

A larger than anticipated weather event has made its way to Ottawa.  Some areas of the City have already seen 10 cm of fluffy snow this evening.  Other areas will see an accumulation between 5 and 10 cm by the end of the event.  Snow is expected to continue until midnight.

Our Roads and Parking Services team were on the road immediately clearing and treating our main and arterial roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network.  Our overnight staff have just taken over and will be working though the night to ensure our main areas are clear ahead of the morning commute.  Residents may see a slower commute tomorrow and should drive to the conditions of the road.

Teams are likely to be out in residential areas early tomorrow morning.  The quantity of snow was greater than initially expected and, given the short turnaround before our vehicles will be in the local communities, we are not calling a winter weather parking ban at this time, but we are asking all residents to please remove vehicles from the roadway so that our clearing efforts are as effective as possible.  

If tomorrow is your waste collection day, we ask you to please place bins in your driveway, back from the roadway and sidewalk so that our plows and sidewalk equipment can clear without interference.

Thank you for your support of our winter operations.

Winter Weather Update – January 22nd

Residents are a waking up to a clear, beautiful morning in the City.  Our Roads and Parking team were out all night and completed a significant amount of snow clearing and treatment of our roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network so the morning commute will be a smooth one.  Our priorities are in great shape and most of our residential roads have seen the equipment pass through.  

As planned, we will be lifting the winter weather parking ban at 10 am this morning.  

Today, all of our available crews will be working to tidy up ahead of the weekend.  We will have teams out to clear around bus stops and pedestrian push buttons and crossings.  Many vehicles will be taking a second pass of sidewalks to ensure they are clear and treated for those who may be out to enjoy them this weekend.  Residents may see our equipment peeling off build-up from our residential roads and applying sand and grit before the arrival of colder temperatures early next week. 

Thank you to residents who moved their vehicles during the ban as it allowed us to be more efficient in our operations.  We appreciate your support.

Winter Weather Update – Thursday January 21st

Good afternoon, 

Our City has seen between 8-13 cm of snow so far today, and we are anticipating up to 3 cm more before it ends.  While the snow falling has been heavy at times, it is light snow.  

Our Roads and Parking team has been out clearing and treating roads throughout the day and their work will continue throughout the night to keep roads and sidewalks open and clear.  Residents should expect a slow commute this evening and we ask that all those on the road give our vehicles space to do their work.  Please stay 3 car lengths behind our working vehicles with their blue lights flashing.

Due to the continuous snow and accumulation, a residential plow run is required. Our vehicles will be out in our residential communities overnight and into tomorrow morning, clearing snow, scraping away build-up and treating roads and sidewalks.  A winter weather parking ban is being called from 10 pm tonight, Thursday January 21, through to 10 am tomorrow, Friday January 22.  All vehicles except those with on-street permits must be removed from the roadway or risk a ticket and / or towing.  

Some of our vehicles may be able to access local neighbourhoods ahead of 10 pm and for this reason, we are asking all residents who can to please remove their vehicles from the roadway.  When roads are free of vehicles, we can keep them open wider and we can be more efficient in our work.  Please consider asking a neighbour to share a driveway or use your garage.  Parking is also available during a Winter Weather Ban at certain City-owned and partner facilities which are listed at Ottawa.ca.

At this time, it is not necessary to create a service request for snow clearing as we have all available staff and equipment on the roads, working to keep you safe.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our winter operations. 

——————————

Residents are waking up to a snowy Thursday.  Snow began in the early morning hours and has been heavy since approximately 5:30 am.  We expect the snow will continue throughout the day with an anticipated accumulation of 8 – 10 cm.

Our teams were deployed as the snow began.  We’ve begun clearing and treating our priority roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network.  Residents should expect a slower than normal commute and are asked to exercise caution this morning.  

The Roads and Parking Services team will be working throughout the day, and monitoring conditions to determine if a residential plow run is required.  We are also considering the need for a winter weather parking ban and will be updating residents later today if we need to call one.

Those residents who have garbage and recycle day today are asked to please place bins in their driveway and not on the road or sidewalks.  This will help our teams clear the roads more efficiently.  Those residents who can are asked to please remove vehicles from the roadway to allow us to keep roadways open and clear.

Winter Weather Update – Wednesday December 9th

Residents woke up to snow on the ground and continued light snow through their commute and morning hours. We anticipate the snow will change to rain around midday as temperatures rise. 

Our teams were out responding immediately. Our plows and salt trucks are working to ensure main roads and arterials are cleared and treated. Our sidewalk machines are out clearing and treating main sidewalks. This work will continue throughout the day. 

As always, we ask residents to give our vehicles space to operate and to place their waste and recycle bins in their driveway instead of on sidewalks. This will allow our operators to complete their work more efficiently.

Winter Weather Update – Wednesday November 25

It’s the second winter weather event of the week!  We are expecting a mixed bag of conditions over the next 24 hours.  We could see 5-6 cm of snow, rain, freezing rain and drizzle over the next 24 hours.  The heaviest snow is expected this morning, though with temperatures hovering around the zero mark, things can change rapidly and can change in different parts of the City.

Our teams are already out responding to the weather.  They will continue their work of clearing and treating main roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling lanes before moving onto collector lanes.  

Temperatures will be rising over the next couple of days.  The rain, combined with the warmer temperatures make it unlikely that we will need to do a residential plow run.  We do not anticipate calling a winter weather parking ban at this time.  

We will keep you posted on our efforts throughout the day.  Residents are reminded to drive to the conditions of the road, and to give our working plows 3 car lengths of space.

Winter Weather Update – Monday, November 23

Residents this morning woke up to approximately 8 cm of very wet, heavy snow.  The rain in the overnight hours, mixed with the heavy snow that fell last night, has created a soupy and sloppy mess on our roads.  Today, temperatures will rise slightly, before a freeze overnight.  

How are we responding

Our vehicles were out overnight clearing and treating our priority roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network.  Multiple passes were made to ensure a safe commute this morning.

As of 7 am this morning, we began residential road clearing in many areas.  A winter weather parking ban went into effect at that time to allow us to clear the roads as efficiently as possible.  Keeping cars off the road today is especially critical because we need to get the wet, heavy snow off the road and water draining while the temperatures are warm.  Any buildup we can’t access today could freeze overnight leading to icy conditions and rutting.  

Teams will be out throughout the day continuing to clear and treat roads, sidewalks, and the winter cycling network.  As we move into the evening, our trucks and sidewalk machines will be laying salt, sand and grit to treat the roads ahead of a freeze.

Winter Weather Parking Ban 

A winter weather parking ban is in place for today.  Getting the roads clear ahead of tonight’s freeze is so important and we appreciate the support of all residents who have moved their cars to help us keep the roads safe.  

We anticipate lifting the ban at 8 pm this evening, Monday November 23.  A notice from the City will be shared on media, social media and through the app and email alerts.  Please encourage all residents to sign up for notifications at Ottawa.ca

How can residents support winter operations

  • Please, keep your cars off the road.  This is heavy wet snow and the more we can clear it away and open up our catch basins before the temperatures drop is the best way we can ensure residents are safe on the roads.  
  • If you are able to clear your local catch basin today, that will help the water to flow off the road and to prevent the water pooling that can lead to icy conditions.  
  • It takes a lot of space for our vehicles to operate.  Please, drive to the conditions of the road and stay at least three car lengths behind a working plow.  You’ll know it is working when you see the blue lights flashing.  
  • As our vehicles are all out actively clearing and treating roads, it is not necessary to create a service request at this time unless there is an emergency or dangerous situation.  If you still have an uncleared street or sidewalk by the morning hours, please create a service request online.

It’s going to be a busy day for the Roads and Parking team and we appreciate your continued support of our winter work.

Preparing our Team

While we are no strangers to ice and snow, this first week of our winter season has been anything but traditional.  This winter reprieve has allowed us to transition more than 525 staff from their summer roles into their winter ones.  But that doesn’t mean they have slowed down at all. We’ve been using this time to continue our winter preparations.  We’re ready for whatever comes our way!

Preparing our Teams

Residents often wonder what our Roads and Parking staff do when it is not snowing.  Depending on the season, there are times when the snow,freezing rain and freeze thaw cycles keeps our teams in their vehicles – clearing snow and ice around the clock for weeks on end.  During those times, our primary focus is on keeping roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network safe for residents.  

When there is a lull in weather events, our staff do not stop – instead using the opportunity to be proactive in our operations.  This week, with warmer weather on our side, staff have been:

  1. Equipping our vehicles with their winter equipment including plow blades, wings and snow edges;
  2. Doing minor repairs on vehicles and around our Yards so we start the season on the right foot (or tire!); 
  3. Training our staff on new equipment or to use new tools that are unique to winter;
  4. Providing additional opportunities for staff to refresh their skills on winter equipment;
  5. Filling our salt and sand domes with material so we’re ready for ice, snow or a combination of both;
  6. Educating the public about our operations so they know what to expect in winter; and
  7. Filling potholes and doing roadway repairs ahead of winter.

These activities will continue throughout the winter though at varying levels as our first priority is always maintaining safe roads, sidewalks and cycling network.

Working During COVID-19

Like everyone, our team has had to adjust to a new way of doing business during a pandemic.  We’re changing some of the ways we operate to ensure additional staff and resident safety.  We’ve been working hard to prepare for a pandemic winter by:

  1. Supporting staff with new resources/cleaning tools to manage their work in a COVID-19 environment; 
  2. Exploring additional locations for resident parking during a winter weather parking ban when so many people are working and learning from home; 
  3. Reviewing our snow clearing and treatment practices to support residents who may be out walking more in their local communities during COVID-19; and
  4. Keeping our staff safe so they can continue to deliver the critical services residents rely on during the winter months.

These are challenging times for all.  We know we are not alone in changing our work practices due to COVID-19 or adapting to changing seasons.  What we do want you to know is that we are ready for winter, and we are committed to keeping residents as safe and as prepared as possible for winter driving, cycling and walking this year.

Winter Weather Parking Ban

Earlier this week, the City of Ottawa received it’s first significant snow of the season. It was a wake-up call of what is to come.  We know that things are different this year with a pandemic keeping so many of us at home.  Residents have many priorities and planning for winter might feel daunting.  While our Roads and Parking team is ready to respond to any weather event at any time, residents may need more time to prepare.  We are asking for your support to help us let residents know what to expect on November 15 – the first day our Winter Weather Parking Ban can be enacted.  COVID-19 has changed the way we do business, and in the coming weeks, we will keep you posted on the positive additions we are making to our winter weather parking options for this unique winter season.

What is a Winter Weather Parking Ban?

Last year, the City moved to a new parking ban system that was timed to match winter weather patterns rather than set times.  Between November 15 and April 1, The Director of Roads and Parking Services may declare a winter weather parking ban for inclement weather including freezing rain or when Environment Canada forecasts 7 cm or more of snow in the Ottawa area. This includes any forecast for a range of snow more than 7 cm, including 5 to 10 cm.  During a winter weather parking ban, vehicles without a residential parking permit that are parked on the street during a parking ban may be ticketed and towed.

When a winter weather parking ban is called, the City issues a special advisory to the local media and posts it on social media, sends an email to registered residents and updates the City’s App. The parking ban ends when snow clearing is completed and the City issues an advisory indicating the ban has been lifted.

Why Is a Winter Weather Parking Ban Called?

The winter weather parking ban will be called to support clearing operations.  Residents are asked to remove their parked cars from the roadway to allow our snow clearing machines – including snowplows, salt trucks and graders to complete their work in the most efficient and effective way.  When there are no cars on the road, our machines can clear snow closer to the curb.  This opens up the road to keep it wider – even when snow accumulates.  It can also help our Roads and Parking team remove the ice and snow that can build up on catch basins.  When there are no cars on the road, the Roads and Parking team can clear the road more quickly and thoroughly.

How Will Residents Know There is a Winter Weather Parking Ban in Place?

Residents are responsible for moving their vehicle during a winter weather parking ban.  Residents can sign up to receive an email notice about the parking ban at Ottawa.ca.  Residents can also follow the City’s TwitterFacebook and Ottawa.ca webpage for updates.   Local media will also have information about the winter weather parking ban.  

Where Can Residents Park During a Winter Weather Parking Ban?

Residents are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are removed from the roadway when a winter weather parking ban is in place.  Residents may wish to approach a neighbour, local business or friend to see if they can park their car at their home or workplace during a ban.

The City also offers free parking at select municipal parking facilities and four specific OC Transpo Park and Ride Locations.  A list of the available locations that can be accessed during a winter parking ban is available at Ottawa.ca.

This year, with many residents working and learning from home, finding parking during a winter weather parking ban could be challenging.  To support residents throughout this pandemic, we are exploring additional parking options, including other City facilities and Park and Ride locations.  Please consult the Ottawa.ca website for updates on free parking locations during a winter weather parking ban.