Snow clearing

It seems I’m not the only one who’s questioning the value of our City snow clearing efforts.

Some points – only with a residential roads lens – considering most residential roads DO NOT get plowed in any timely matter, I question the value to pedestrians, transit users and home owners on residential roads.



– response time for windrow clearing from pedestrian access points and transit stops are generally well beyond 72 hrs

– full ROW (right-of-way) clearing in residential areas leaves a windrow that usually necessitates all vehicle occupants to exit into traffic (problematic for children and elderly)

– full ROW plowing often covers curbs and drainage grates (ice/flooding potential high as we’re a Chinook city)

– if left unplowed, the residential routes that receive plowing are often cleared double-track to asphalt very soon after snow stops


Appreciating bus routes need to be safe and (reasonably) smooth for those on those buses – the rest of the conversation gets lost on me.

For instance – where is the value in clearing parking lanes in residential areas if those homes are just left with a big windrow and extra work?


What do you think?



– only clear through lanes in residential areas (windrow cross-section smaller and therefore melts faster, curb and drainage grates not blocked)

– clear bus-stops from the curb outwards (carry down-road and drop) – or use a blade blocker to not deposit on bus stops

– ditto for pedestrian access points (intersections, aprons, etc)

– consider only truck mounted plows and traction agent in residential. (on that, once smoothed (not necessarily to asphalt) keep plows up to save wear and tear)

– limit (or none) melt agents on residential roads

– consider not doing Priority 1 and 2 routes simultaneously if having trouble keeping up with major routes (maybe eliminate residential snow routes)

if whole residential ROW clearing is needed – plow in the day when most vehicles are not needing to park

– schedule and publish neighborhood plowing sequence (2300 tickets/11 tows this last event makes for questionable optics – although I’m not sure how many were issued in residential)

– focus on problem areas – hills, etc.

– consider removal for problem areas

– consider mid-road windrow

– consider windrow flattener (saw years back, looking for link)

I’ve been asking these questions for a number of years. We’re not being asked how well received the snow clearing efforts were, then the next snow event comes…



  • Don Schwartz

    By Don Schwartz

    Clear residential ROW. Haul snow out from the south side of avenues, where melting is minimal, clear North side on a case by case evaluation against established criteria. Where sidewalks butt against the curb, clear & haul the whole street. Plowing without removal creates as many problems as it resolves – sometimes more.

  • Amanda Neale

    By Amanda Neale

    Greetings Keith,

    I like some of your thinking and your focus on community interaction on issues. Good points on Seniors and how the city has grown and designed itself for young families, forgetting about our valuable seniors. This is near to my heart.
    What about fiscal responsibility? Thoughts on the Calgary Flames arena? Curious about your stance on this and other costly initiatives that impact tax payers. How would you choose to influence these projects?

    Amanda Neale
    Braeside Resident

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