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

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.