Snowplow drivers will clear the roads following a more realistic timeline this winter, says a City of Red Deer official.
In June, city council adopted a revised Snow and Ice Control policy that tweaks language, adds definitions and a separate level of service sections for roads, sidewalks, trails, bike lanes and transit stops.
The policy is based on average snowfalls with adjustments made when there aren’t enough available resources, equipment fails or weather conditions are extreme.
Under the previous policy, residential streets were earmarked to be cleared within 25 days, but often this target was not being met. Instead the streets were cleared on average within 36 days. The new standard falls within 40 days to complete the plowing and windrowing.
Public Works manager Greg Sikora said service levels will not change because the expectations for removal were simply aligned with realistic targets.
“In order to really truly to reflect what we are capable of we have to adjust the triggers and targets,” said Sikora. “That’s not to say it’s a lower level of service. This is the level of service that we are providing that the community is familiar with.”
Sikora said the policy revisions will allow residents to have a clearer idea of when to expect the sound of plows on the road.
“Our guys work long, long hours,” said Sikora. “They need the space to work effectively. When you see them out there, please provide them with the working space they need. The 20-metre clear is to be taken seriously.”
The snow removal budget for 2012 comes in at $2.92 million, a $570,000 increase from the previous year. The last time the policy was updated was in 2008.
The downtown streets were given clear priority and will be plowed and removed within four days when there’s 10 cm of snow pack. The downtown is considered within 43rd Street to 55th Street and 47th Avenue to 53rd Avenue.
Bike lanes marked by pavement markings will be cleared to a similar service level as the roadways upon they are located. Those bike lanes designated with physical barriers like curbs will be cleared on a service request basis and only as resources become available.
Specific targets were outlined for sidewalk clearing within the new guidelines.
According to the policy, the intention is to have at least one clear walkway, on one side of the street, available along any corridor.
Sidewalks on hills, bridges, high hazard locations, hospital access and downhill areas will be plowed within four days. All others will be plowed within 10 days. Residents must clear their walks within 48 hours.
Trails within the Waskasoo Park system will be cleared within four days when there is a five-cm accumulation of snow.
The six priorities from highest to lowest: include hills, bridges and overpasses, high hazard locations, hospital access; arterials with focus on high collision intersections; downtown; collectors, transit routes and residential streets adjacent to schools; industrial and commercial; and residential.
The top priorities will be plowed within eight hours when there is five cms of snow. These locations with on-street parking will be plowed and removed within 48 hours of completion of priority two (arterials).
For more information and the snow and ice control map visit www.reddeer.ca and click on Snow Plowing and Snow Removal FAQ.