Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City plowing ahead with its snow zones

Restaurant owners, area residents upset, confused

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Some restaurant owners are unhappy and many residents are confused, but the city has no plans to change its new snow-clearing program.

For the most part, snow-clearing crews have plowed away the first big storm of the season from Winnipeg streets and now the city will evaluate its new system of snow zones.

Ken Boyd, the city's streets-maintenance manager, said on Wednesday if there are any changes, they won't be made until next year's start of winter. "We don't want to confuse people," Boyd said.

"Our zones are pretty well fixed now. We have scenarios for every day of the week set up based on when we start the plows... they all work around garbage pickup schedules."

Boyd said he knows there has been some criticism of the new snow-clearing policy from residents and restaurant owners beside or in residential areas, especially in the area around Corydon Avenue where there are no parkades.

"We'll be looking at whether we'll change the zones after this winter -- it's certainly something we'll consider," he said.

"One area -- the Wolseley area south of Portage and north of Portage to Notre Dame -- has two zones where we plow alternate streets. We'll evaluate whether that works well and we might look at applying it to the business areas."

Some restaurant and business owners in zone G, where parking was banned on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., weren't happy with the new snow-clearing system. Zone G includes everything from Osborne Village, Corydon Avenue's Little Italy district, Crescentwood and River Heights to Waverley Street.

Miles Gould, owner of The Grove at Stafford Street and Grosvenor Avenue, said sales at the licensed restaurant were down from a typical Tuesday night because people were worried about parking on nearby residential streets and having their vehicles towed.

"People were calling us asking if we can park nearby and we said no, the ban was in effect, so they didn't come," Gould said.

"We were affected for the evening after 7, but what if the next ban is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.? That would affect our lunch and dinner times."

Gould said he doesn't know why the city didn't just do a mix of the old and the new: have the ban start at midnight, but tell residents what night to move their vehicles.

Arnaldo Carreira, owner of Orlando's Seafood Grill on Corydon, said he wishes the city would revisit its snow-clearing plan.

"We have limited parking in our area -- we don't have parking lots," Carreira said.

"We had customers call to cancel reservations. They are retired and not that young, so they can't walk far. I think the city could do things different. They could do one area around here today and another tomorrow so there would be a spot here and there to park.

"But they're not doing that. They're just making one law."

Farther west at Academy Lanes, manager Todd Britton said he's not a person who criticizes the city, but he questions how the new snow plan was made.

"We've had winters for more than 100 years and it seems like we're doing everything for the first time," Britton said.

"It seems the decisions coming from city hall are from people who have never lived in Winnipeg... this is problematic. I can walk if I have to, but you have seniors and people with mobility issues who can't."

Boyd said as of today at 7 a.m., the vast majority of streets in the city will have seen a snow plow.

Boyd said any that have been missed will still see a snow plow as quickly as possible, but Winnipeggers don't have to worry they'll be issued a parking ticket.

Despite the snow -- and the recent garbage and recycling pickup controversy -- the city's solid waste services manager, Darryl Drohomerski, said for the most part those pickups went fine throughout the city.

"We've heard very few calls from people," Drohomerski said.


Zoned out? Here's a primer

DON'T know your snow-zone letter from your ABCs? Well, here is a quick primer on how the city now clears all streets, sidewalks and back alleys, and how you can ensure your vehicle won't be towed.


-- What is a snow zone?

The city has divided the entire community into zones using 22 letters. The letters are spread throughout the city. There is more than one zone for each letter and if you know your snow zone, you can look up the day when your street will be plowed.


-- How do I know my snow zone?

You can either call 311 with your address or go to and follow the "know your zone" link. Once there, you can find out your snow zone (which also has information on your insect-management area, garbage collection calendar and who your city councillor is) or the snow-clearing schedule.


-- When is snow cleared?

Unlike the former system, which saw snow crews and residential parking bans go from midnight to 7 a.m., which could drag out for several days, the new system sees the city clean up the snow in five consecutive 12-hour shifts starting at either 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.


-- My ban isn't until tonight -- why did the city plow my street today?

The city says it has told snow-clearing crews if they finish the zone they are supposed to do early they can start the next zone, but they are only supposed to clear the non-parking lanes.


How much snow has to fall to clear snow?

Three centimetres of white stuff has to fall on P1 streets to get the plows out, but residential streets are left until either 10 centimetres of snow have fallen or there is significant wind or drifting conditions.


What happens if I forget to move my car off the street?

The city calls what they do a "courtesy tow." The city will tow your vehicle to a street that has already been plowed or is in another zone. It will cost you $75, or $150 if you pay more than two weeks after you get the ticket. In the last few days, after the city figured it didn't do a good job of educating Winnipeggers on the new snow-removal system, it waived the tickets, issuing warning pamphlets instead.


-- Why didn't the city tow vehicles on my street before it was plowed?

Tow trucks were overwhelmed with the numbers of vehicles left on the street and couldn't tow them all.


-- Is the city going to tweak the snow-removal system this year?

Not a chance, says Ken Boyd, the city's manager of streets maintenance. Boyd says there might be changes for next winter, but they're not going to confuse people by making changes now.


-- How far do snow-clearing crews travel?

Just shy of the equivalent of Winnipeg to Kabul, Afghanistan. Snow crews travel a total of 10,650 kilometres to plow all of the white stuff (it's 10,594 kilometres to Kabul), including 1,750 lane-kilometres of P1 streets (major routes), 1,600 lane-kilometres of P2 streets (non-regional bus routes and collector streets), 3,750 P3 streets (residential), 850 kilometres of back alleys and 2,700 kilometres of sidewalks.


-- Compiled by Kevin Rollason

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2012 A3


Updated on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM CST: Replaces main photo

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