The first big snowfall of the new year may have covered the streets; but it’s also uncovered some perennial problems for public works crews.
“One of the biggest issues city workers come across is that people are continually pushing snow from their driveways and sidewalks onto the street,” said Warman Planning and Development Manager Brad Toth in an interview on Thursday, January 9.
“The goal is to keep the streets clear for traffic, and when snow is dumped onto the street after the grader has gone through, it defeats the whole purpose.”
The other major issue involves vehicles that are parked on roadways without moving for days on end.
“When the crews are in the neighbourhood, please make sure that your vehicle is not parked on the street that is being cleared,” said Toth. “We appreciate the cooperation of the public. It’s self-defeating if the grader has to drive around a number of parked vehicles.”
Toth said in higher density areas where parking is at a premium, the City of Warman provides notice in the form of signs at the corners of the crescent warning residents in advance of snow clearing operations.
“Vehicles will have to be removed by 7 a.m. that day and can be returned once crews make their way through,” said Toth. “Vehicles that are left past 7 a.m. will be subject to fines. Due to the amount of on-street parking, it is important that we remove snow and ice from these streets so people have ample room to park.”
Over the past week, the City of Warman has been giving warnings to owners of vehicles parked on the street that impede the snow-clearing crews. But, Toth said, fines varying from $100 to $200 could be levied in cases where city crews have to return several times before a street is finally able to be cleared.
The City of Warman has a snow-clearing plan that designates roadways according to priority.
Major arterial streets such as Central Street, Centennial Boulevard, Clubhouse Boulevard and 6th Avenue South are deemed to be Priority One and are cleared as soon as possible after a major snow event. School zones are also included in the Priority One category.
Collector streets are Priority Two and are cleared once the Priority One roadways are completed.
Priority Three and Four roadways include residential streets.
“Typically we try and store the snow right after the snowfall on one side of the street,” said Toth. “This could mean residents will lose one sidewalk for a short time, depending on the street.
“Then, after the guys have completed the first pass, they’ll come back and haul the snow away. This is the period when we will provide the notice to residents and businesses. The snow is pushed into the middle of the street and then picked up and hauled away to the snow dump south of town.”
Toth said in the event of a major snow event that continues for a longer period of time, city crews may have to do Priority One and Two streets several times before moving on to lower priority areas.
While alleys are generally considered lowest priority, Toth noted that certain alleys in high-density residential neighbourhoods that provide the only route in and out for residents are cleared as soon as possible under the city’s plan.
The city does not clear snow from privately-owned streets such as those in townhouse developments.
The city’s snow-clearing bylaw can be viewed online at the City of Warman website.