‘We need to do better’: Residential snow clearing about to start, but not soon enough for Sohi

A Phase 2 residential parking ban will come into effect in Edmonton on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The city announced last week that crews would begin residential road clearing this week, weather permitting.

Vehicles parked on parking ban routes after 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 could be ticketed or towed at the owner’s expense.

Signs will be posted in a neighbourhood 24 hours before clearing is scheduled to start to give drivers an opportunity to move their vehicles.

The parking ban will be in place for 24 to 72 hours while crews clear neighbourhood streets.

If your vehicle is towed, it will be moved to the nearest cleared street, and can be found by calling 311.

Once clearing has been completed, the parking ban will be lifted in that neighbourhood.

Last week when announcing the winners of the “Name a Plow contst”, Mark Beare, director of infrastructure operations with the city, said unseasonably warm weather has delayed residential clearing.

“This is definitely an area we’re hearing a lot about, and we hear you. We know the residential areas are sloppy, but sending plows into them now with the warmer temperatures is going to make things worse with heavy equipment creating large ruts and windrows,” he told reporters last week.

“Now people are going to have windrows out in front of their homes, and that was something we experienced last year with a lot of negative feedback about people losing their parking.”

The warm weather is expected to continue until later this week.

With that in mind, the city says it will use additional small equipment when clearing residential streets down to a five centimetre snowpack.

“With the concern about decreased mobility on residential streets and the concern about creating windrows still top of mind, we will be heading into residential areas with an increased amount of small equipment to open up driveways, public pedestrian accesses, and catch basins,” Val Dacyk of infrastructure field operations told reporters on Monday.

She added that while residents will still see windrows, the city will move windrows blocking access points.

Small equipment will be sent in to clear windrows within 24 hours of a neighbourhood being cleared.


Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi spoke about snow on residential roads on Monday.

“There’s a frustration that residential streets are impassable in some cases, because of the temperature rising and going up it has caused those slushy conditions,” he told reporters. “I understand that graders cannot go in and scrape off the ruts, but we need to do better. We need to do better. Our administration needs to do better.”

He added the city will likely continue to see drastic changes in temperature in coming winters.

“I think it’s a trend because of climate change and our policy and our practices need to adapt,” he said.

“I wish that we were in the residential streets two weeks ago, but we were not. I think that we need to figure out a better way of responding to these changing realities and our snow and ice control I would say is not living up to citizen’s expectations.”

Beare responded to Sohi’s critiques, saying the department operates on funding and guidance from city council.

“Without getting into personal opinions, we have been delivering on that program this winter, and some of the areas of concern that we’re talking about right now with residential areas, the service standard is five centimetre snowpack, which we do maintain,” he said.

“He’s absolutely right, climate change is impacting the unseasonable temperatures that we experience, such as last year when there was a lot of freezing rain and freeze thaw cycles and this year when it’s unseasonably warm.”

Crews are expected to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the residential clearing is completed.

Officials say it could take up to four weeks to clear all of the city’s residential streets depending on the weather.

You can find out when your neighbourhood is scheduled for clearing by visiting the city’s website. 

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