Many communities are dealing with the after-effect of our recent weather patterns. We experienced freezing rain, rain, snow, as well as a dramatic drop in temperatures – from a high of +6˚C to -16˚C.
City crews worked around the clock to clear catch basins and to clear roadways of pooling water. Snow removal continued in some areas which served the dual purpose of clearing the roadway to allow for better water flow, as well as increasing road width. Teams salted the roads and sidewalks to keep them safe for residents.
As you can appreciate, the conditions have been exceptional for any service. Teams were out clearing and salting continuously. Sidewalks create a unique challenge for clearing at the best of times, even without freezing rain. In the winter, sidewalks have drainage issues. When snow is piled on both sides, the snow melts or rain collects on the sidewalk. It then lays there and as soon as the temperature drops, it freezes again. Crews clear the sidewalks with our machines multiple times, but they are not as heavy as a snow plow or grader meaning that even when they scrape the sidewalk, it will never be as clean as a roadway.
In residential areas, sidewalks and roads are cleared to a snow-packed, not bare, Maintenance Quality Standard (MQS). Crews apply grit or sand to residential sidewalks which acts as an abrasive and should allow residents to gain traction while walking.
Operators have noted that one of their biggest challenges to completing their work today are the number of garbage and recycle bins on sidewalks. It makes it impossible for snow removal vehicles to pass.
We know residents are frustrated. Staff are aware of the conditions and taking every measure to address the ice and buildup. These are exceptional conditions and appreciate your support as we continue our work. We are doing all we can, with all possible resources, to prepare for the next weather event.