Once again, we are talking about the conditions of our residential roads and Edmonton’s snow and ice control policies.
On Monday January 23rd, the city declared a Phase 2 Residential Parking Ban to start on Tuesday January 24th at 7pm. A Phase 2 Parking Ban includes residential and industrial area roads.
City Administration anticipate temperatures to drop next week, which will allow them to better smooth out ruts and maintain that five centimetre snowpack in neighbourhoods. Please note the some important information below regarding this parking ban:
- The parking ban is in effect until the City announces it has been lifted. Due to the warmer weather and soft conditions, the ban is expected to last between 3-4 weeks to complete all residential neighborhoods. Each neighbourhood will be under the ban for a period of 24-72 hours depending on size and complexity.
- To stay up to date on when work will be completed in your neighbourhood, The City encourages Edmontonians to sign up for email and text notifications. Notifications will be sent when a parking ban is starting, paused or ending.
- To view what phase of the parking ban your road is part of you can check out the Snow and Ice Control map.
- More information on winter parking bans can be found by clicking here
Some Recent History
Edmonton does not collect and remove snow from residential roads. Historically, Edmonton has left the snow in a frozen layer on the road. This layer would remain frozen until spring, then breakdown and melt within a couple of weeks.
Historically, if too much snow accumulated, the City would blade the snow into windrows and piles, and would remove the piles.
In Winter 2021-2022, the City carried out a pilot project to plow snow on residential roads into windrows. This pilot was a complete failure. Street parking was lost, street drains were frozen over, and snow melt collected in large ponds that froze into large treacherous sheets of ice.
In Spring 2022, City Council considered a policy change, to blade residential roads to pavement AND truck the snow away. Based on the above described pilot, the cost to blade and remove was estimated at $135M - roughly an 8% property tax increase. This change in policy was not approved, meaning the policy of letting the snow lay on the road remains in place.
The current conditions - the roads covered in “oatmeal”, and heavily rutted - are what can generally be expected later in the Spring. But in the spring, those conditions don’t last long, as higher temperatures and longer days result in the snow melting and running into the storm drains.
City Administration can blade the snow layer flat in warm temperatures. But with spring-like temperatures, the snow layer will not freeze, and will deteriorate almost as fast as the blades push it flat. However, the temperatures are not high enough to actually melt the snow, so the bad conditions won’t “melt away.”
The Snow and Ice Budget
How has the money been allocated for the snow and ice budget?
- In June 2022, City Council was presented a plan to increase the snow and ice budget by roughly $42M over four years, starting in 2023. This would have taken the current $57M budget to approximately $99M in 2026.
- In summer 2022, Council supported this solution in principle. In addition, Council approved an increase in 2022 spending of $4.7M, to get a jump on increased funding for snow control.
- During Budget deliberations in December 2022, Council reduced funding to a “20% solution.”, essentially reducing the increase that had been tacitly approved just a few months before.
City Administration has been constantly changing its strategies and approaches in response to Council’s ever-changing levels of funding support. It is no wonder that it has taken a couple weeks to figure out a new strategy.
This was one of the reasons I did not support the Budget. You can read more about my thoughts on the 2023-2026 budget by clicking here. The number one issue raised by residents during budget engagement sessions was the need for improved snow and ice control.
Please note, Councillors do not have the authority to direct snow plows where to start plowing, and we cannot get an exact date and time when they will be on your street as the process takes several days.
Should you have any questions regarding this or any other municipal matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office at [email protected] or by calling 780-496-8130.
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