The early reviews are in — and they’re good — for the city’s new snow and ice policy.
“I think when we first rolled it out there was a lot of concern and angst about what is a dual windrow, what’s that going to look like and what does it mean to me,” said Elaine Vincent, the city’s director of development services.
“Now that we’ve had that first residential snow clearing program we’ve seen that angst calm down,” said Vincent following a budget presentation to council.
“Residents are seeing what it is. It is quicker and it is faster.”
Windrows are the piles left by snow plows. In the past, they were piled on one side of the street but the new policy is to deposit smaller piles on each side of a street.
Also, under the new policy, residential streets are cleared within 15 days, down from the old standard of 40 days. Next winter, the pace will be picked up even further and residents can expect to see residential streets cleared within five days.
Based on this winter’s experience, meeting that target may mean some changes, said Vincent. The city may have to turn to overnight snow clearing in neighbourhoods or bring in snow bans. In Edmonton and many other cities, motorists are prohibited from parking on the road during snow clearing efforts.
Another possible option is assigning specific snow clearing days to the city’s 11 snow zones so residents will always know what day the plows are coming.
To bankroll the new snow measures, city council approved $1.9 million in capital spending last year to add two more plow trucks, two graders, a skid steer, a truck/trailer combo, a snowblower and a loader.
An $855,000 increase in operational spending was also approved for this winter, and again next winter.