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Public Works

Winter Frequently Asked Questions

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How many times per winter is the residential parking ban put in place?

On average, the residential parking ban is declared two to three times per winter when snow clearing of residential streets is required due to heavy snowfall.

What is a windrow?
A windrow is a ridge of snow that is left behind after a snow plow or grader passes by.
After my back lane is plowed, who is responsible for removing the windrow or ridge of snow that was left behind by the snow plow?
As per our Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy, windrows left by snow plows from back lane plowing operations are not removed by city forces. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to do so.

Read more: Windrows of plowed snow - Private Approaches.

EXAMPLE: Windrow from back lane snow plow operation. Responsibility of property owner to remove. - Photo 1
Is there a Street priority system in place for snow removal?
For the purpose of snow clearing, the street system has been classified in three categories (Priority 1, Priority 2, Priority 3). However, for a variety of reasons, some streets designated as a particular priority may be plowed on an accelerated basis together with streets in a higher priority. The definitions listed below describe the general rule and some exceptions to the rule.

PRIORITY 1 STREETS: Includes all Regional Streets (Major Routes)

PRIORITY 1 streets shall normally be maintained to bare pavement over the full pavement width. Generally, snow accumulating beyond a depth of 3 cm shall be removed through the use of de-icing chemicals and/or by plowing. Streets shall be plowed on a continuous basis until completed. Plowing shall be undertaken during the night as much as possible in order to minimize the problems associated with traffic and parked vehicles. The snow plowing operations shall be completed within thirty-six hours following the end of an average storm.

List of Priority 1 (Regional) and Priority 2 (Non-Regional) Snow Route Streets

Read more: What is a Street Priority?
What is the difference between a “Regional” street and “Collector” street?
Regional Streets (Priority 1) are major routes such as Portage Avenue and Main Street.

Collector Streets (Non-Regional / Priority 2) include non-regional bus routes and streets based on traffic counts. The term “Collector” is used because these streets “collect” traffic from the surrounding major routes and Residential streets.

List of Priority 1 (Regional) and Priority 2 (Non-Regional) Snow Route Streets
What are parking bans?
The City of Winnipeg makes use of five different types of parking bans in order to effectively remove snow from Winnipeg streets.

Register for email notification of upcoming parking bans.
Can I have the Snow Route Overnight Parking Ban changed on my Street?
This parking ban is implemented to ensure that the City is able to provide the level of service that is mandated by the City’s Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy for our Priority 1 and Priority 2 street systems. This parking ban is particularly critical in the Downtown Square because the City provides an enhanced level of snow clearing in that area.

Vehicles parked on the street present significant challenges to our snow clearing crews and it is vitally important that our snow clearing resources are able to conduct their work in an efficient and effective manner. It has been proven that one of the keys to having our citizens be respectful of the overnight parking bans is a clear and consistent regulation. Therefore the Snow Route Overnight Parking Ban must be applied in a similar manner on all City streets that are designated as Snow Routes. If any exceptions are made, it tends to quickly make the ban much more confusing to the public and ultimately less effective in limiting the parked cars impacting on our operations.

With regards to the time frame that the parking ban is in effect, this was carefully considered during the development of the parking ban and the enforcement period of four hours from 2:00 am to 7:00 am was a compromise between respecting the business needs of the community while still ensuring that City crews have sufficient time to undertake any snow clearing activities that may be warranted prior to the morning rush hours.
What happens if I’m parked on a street with Temporary “No Parking” signs?
Temporary 'No Parking' signs are used to prohibit vehicles parking on streets in order for the snow removal equipment to perform their operations. When the temporary No Parking signs are placed, the vehicles parked on street at the time are recorded with pertinent information such as license plate number, description of vehicle, etc. The Parking Compliance Officers use the document as it determines if a car was parked before or after signs went up. The cars parked there after the signs went up will be ticketed by the Parking Compliance Officers and towed to a compound at the vehicle owner's expense. Vehicles that were parked prior to sign placement and still parked when work commences shall be towed around the corner or in the general vicinity.
During a parking ban, can I park on a street that has already been cleared of snow?
All efforts are made to co-ordinate plowing operations with the Parking Compliance Officers who enforce the parking ban through the issuance of tickets. Please remember that there are situations where the snow removal equipment may be coming back to do a second pass or additional work and should you be parked on street, there is a possibility that you could be ticketed.
When does the Annual Snow Route Parking Ban take effect?
For streets displaying snow route signs, parking is prohibited from December 1st to March 1st between the hours of 2 a.m. & 7 a.m. Parking may be prohibited on all other streets following a major snowstorm.

For more information, visit the Parking Bans webpage or register for email notification of upcoming parking bans.
Does the City remove high piles of snow?
The Public Works Department monitors visibility at intersections on a regular basis throughout the winter months and any identified high piles at bus stops, crosswalks, lane entrances and intersections shall be reduced so as to improve the line of sight for motorists and pedestrians. Priority will be given to high piles located on Priority 1 (major routes) and Priority 2 (collector) streets and also to intersections and lane entrances in the vicinity of elementary schools. High snow piles at entrances to school parking lots, bus staging areas are the responsibility of the school unless the adjacent sidewalk is obstructed as to prevent the reasonable movement of pedestrian traffic.

The City does not remove high piles at private approaches or private entrances.
When will the City clear sidewalks on major routes or in the Downtown area?
SECTION C: PLOWING OF SIDEWALKS on PRIORITY 1 & 2 STREETS

CLAUSE C-1 - CURRENT POLICY APPROVED BY WORKS & OPERATIONS COMMITTEE SEPTEMBER 7, 1993

Sidewalks on Priority 1 & 2 streets shall normally be maintained to a compacted snow surface. Plowing shall commence when an inspection, following a 5 cm snowfall accumulation or equivalent local drifting conditions, indicates a necessity for a clearing operation. The snow plowing operations shall be completed within thirty-six hours following the end of an average storm.

Sidewalks in the Downtown Square - CLAUSE C-2 Sidewalks on Priority 1 and 2 streets within the Downtown Square shall generally be plowed to a paved surface whenever conditions allow. However, minor snowfalls and/or warming temperatures between plowing operations may result in a layer of compacted snow or ice on the sidewalk surface. A plowing operation shall be initiated when the snow has accumulated beyond a depth of 5 cm. The snow plowing operations shall be completed within thirty-six hours following the end of an average storm.

For the purposes of this policy, the Downtown Square shall be identified as the area bounded by Broadway to Ellice and Main to Memorial. Notwithstanding these limits, Main from Higgins to Portage and from Broadway to the Assiniboine River shall also be included.
The sidewalk plow went by and left a ridge of snow which blocks my pathway. Who is responsible to remove this?
REMOVAL OF WINDROWS - CLAUSE C-5 - CURRENT POLICY APPROVED BY WORKS & OPERATIONS COMMITTEE SEPTEMBER 22, 1993

Windrows of snow plowed across private approaches and/or walks resulting from sidewalk clearing operations shall not be removed.
Does the City remove boulevard windrows from Major routes and Collector streets?
Windrows (ridges) of snow are normally removed on Priority 1 (major routes) and Priority 2 (collector) streets where the following criteria are met:
  • Bridges and underpasses
  • Where lack of adequate storage results in a reduction in the number of available traffic lanes thereby prohibiting the reasonable movement of vehicular traffic under normal winter driving conditions.
  • Traffic safety devices such as guardrails and impact barriers.
  • The City also takes advantage of mechanically blowing snow to adjacent properties wherever possible, rather than resorting to hauling.
What is the procedure for removing windrows from schools?
CLAUSE D-9 - CURRENT POLICY APPROVED BY WORKS & OPERATIONS COMMITTEE SEPTEMBER 22, 1993

Windrows of snow on boulevards adjacent to schools are not removed unless the lack of adequate storage has resulted in the adjacent sidewalk becoming obstructed so as to prevent the reasonable movement of pedestrian traffic.

High snow piles at entrance to school parking lots, bus staging areas - are the responsibility of the schools.

School Bus Loading Zones - are the responsibility of the schools.
When does the City clear bus stops after a storm?
All efforts are made to maintain the public transportation routes (bus routes) and bus stop platforms in a safe snow-free condition. The opening and plowing of bus stops will be carried out by the plowing crews as part of the snow clearing operations.

Plowing standard is one bus-length for normal bus stops. Locations where multiple buses regularly pull up are cleared to approximately 3 bus lengths. Clearing of bus stops is done as much as possible, concurrent with the plowing operation - the initial goal is to open as many stops as possible in a short time period. In areas where on-site snow storage is limited, initial clearing or lengthening of the cleared area may take time (1 or 2 days normally) until a snow hauling operation is undertaken.

Truck plowing operations between major plow events will result in windrows (ridges of snow) along entire streets which could include bus stops. There is often a significant time lag between the plow and loader clean up of locations. This is due to the high speed of the truck plows in relation to the speed of which a large compliment of front-end loaders can operate as they may have to go back and forth and haul snow around corners.
Does the City use salt on streets?
SECTION B: USE OF SALT ON CITY STREETS - CURRENT POLICY APPROVED BY WORKS & OPERATIONS COMMITTEE (1991) The populace of Winnipeg is largely dependent on being mobile all year round, either by automobile, truck or bus. As a result, it is critical that the street network and transportation system be functioning and safe. The City endeavours to provide an adequate level of service and, pending proper weather conditions, the application of salt to City streets satisfies the following objectives:
  • Melting freshly fallen snow on arteries that are heavily traveled.
  • Preventing the formation of ice on the roadway surface due to freezing rain, fog, traces of snow, or frost formations such as on bridge decks.
  • Removing layers of snow and ice that remain on the pavement after the plowing operation is carried out.
  • Improving tire traction and braking qualities of the pavement.
Does the City use sand on streets?
USE OF TREATED SAND ON CITY STREETS

Treated sand is also used in the City to provide a reasonable level of safety on our street system. Salt is added to the sand (5% by weight) to enhance its performance as follows:
  • It serves to keep sand fluid and workable when stockpiled throughout the cold winter months so that the stockpiles do not freeze and become unusable.
  • The salt has the effect of keeping the sand fluid and workable enough that it can be handled in the conveying and spreading apparatus used in the trucks that apply the treated sand to the streets,
  • The presence of the small quantity of salt in the mixture allows the material, under reasonable weather conditions, to stick to the icy surface of the roadway, thus reducing the tendency for the sand to be blown off the pavement surface by the wind and passing vehicles.
The first priority of application of treated sand after any snow accumulation is on the Regional Street system (Priority 1), then the Bus Route and Collector system (Priority 2), followed by an application on the Residential street system (Priority 3).

Priority 1 and 2 Streets

Treated sand is applied to improve traction on Priority1 streets when the ambient temperature is below -7°C, a temperature at which salt is no longer effective. It is applied to Priority 2 streets as conditions warrant ensuring a reasonable level of safety to motorists and pedestrians.

The application of treated sand on Priority 1 and 2 streets is normally done on an intermittent basis along these streets, but may be continuous. After the initial application, and depending on the time of application, wind conditions, amount of traffic and any further accumulation of snow, additional applications of treated sand may be required at controlled intersections, bridges, subways, curves and inclines on the Priority 1 street system. The additional applications are usually made because of the significant traffic volumes and higher speeds on the Priority 1 streets. The action of vehicle tires at intersections dislodges the sand particles and the subsequent air movement caused by the moving vehicles blows the sand away from the wheel paths and to the side of the roadway resulting in the necessity for additional sanding.

Priority 3 (Residential) Streets

Operating procedures have been developed to reduce the application of treated sand on Priority 3 streets consistent with maintaining reasonably safe conditions. The application of sand shall be restricted to "spotting" or short bursts at controlled intersections, pedestrian corridors and crosswalks, railway crossings and inclines. There will be other locations where sanding may be required. These areas are to be identified on a "site specific" basis by the Streets Supervisor or designate.

Sanding will not be undertaken in alleys except under extreme conditions and where authorized by the Director of Public Works or designate.
After the street is plowed, who is responsible to clear the windrow (ridge of snow) off my front approach?
Windrows of plowed snow in excess of 20 cm or 8 inches high shall normally be removed from all front street driveway approaches as part of the grader snow clearing operation. (NOTE: When truck plows are dispatched to clear snow, they normally do not leave windrows greater than 8'' high. Therefore, those windrows will not be cleared unless inspected by the Streets Supervisor or designate.)

EXAMPLE: Windrows left on front-street private approach cleared to City standards as part of residential snow clearing operation - Photo 1 | Photo 2
When does the City clear back lanes?
Back lanes shall normally be maintained to a compacted snow surface as opposed to bare pavement. Plowing of back lanes shall commence after an inspection warrants a clearing operation, usually following a 5 cm snowfall accumulation or equivalent local drifting conditions.

The snow plowing operations shall normally be completed within 3 days following the end of an average storm. Generally, the plowing of back lanes shall be undertaken concurrently with Priority 1 (major routes) and Priority 2 (collector) streets and prioritization may be necessary to facilitate refuse pickup.

During extended periods of mild weather, it may be necessary to undertake additional plowing of back lanes, where specifically warranted, to reduce rutting.

NOTE: WINDROWS (ridges of snow) resulting from the snow removal operations WILL NOT BE REMOVED - it is the responsibility of the homeowner to remove. Read more: Windrows of plowed snow - Private Approaches.
EXAMPLE:
Windrow from back lane snow plow operation. Responsibility of property owner to remove. - Photo 1
Who is responsible to clear a pathway on my boulevard so I can access the street?
If a resident wishes to maintain a pathway on the boulevard to the street, it is their responsibility to do so.

When streets and walks are plowed, the windrow (ridges of snow) that blocks the pathway is an unfortunate by-product of the plowing operation and is not removed by City forces. If the plow were to lift the blade at each pathway, a ridge of snow would be left across the road or walk. With the large number of pathways this would defeat the purpose of plowing. The estimated cost of opening the pathways would be too great, and budget does not allow for this service.
Why does the City dump snow on MY boulevard?
The City’s goal is to clear the roadways and as a result the snow piles cleared must be stored somewhere. We remind citizens the CITY boulevard is utilized for snow storage.
I cleared a pathway on the boulevard and then the snow removal crew dumped snow right on the pathway. Why?
If a resident wishes to maintain a pathway on the boulevard to the street, it is their responsibility to do so. The City’s goal is to clear the roadways and as a result the snow piles cleared must be stored somewhere. We remind citizens the CITY boulevard is utilized for snow storage. The estimated cost of opening the pathways would be too great, and budget does not allow for this service.
Who can I contact to assist with clearing a boulevard pathway if I am physically incapable of shovelling?
A service is provided to property owners or occupants who have signed an annual declaration to the effect that: Private boulevard crosswalks between the sidewalk and the curb are cleared to a width of 0.7 metres by City forces, after the street clearing operations are completed. This service does not include the removal of snow on private property or a lane windrow after a back lane plow operation. Properties with front approach access do not quality for this service. The following criteria must be met to qualify for this special service:
  1. The property owner/occupant has a permanent disability/handicap and is physically incapable of shoveling snow (copy of medical certificate is required for all new applicants). This service is not provided for those with a short-term disability/handicap (eg. knee surgery).
  2. No other able-bodied person resides in the property owner's/occupants house.
  3. The property owner/occupant is unable to arrange to have this work done by others due to financial circumstances.
Upon request, application forms for this service are mailed to residents to be filled out and returned to our office along with a copy of a Doctors Certificate.

Where applicable, a By-law Enforcement Constable will personally interview the applicant to verify the above criteria.

If you qualify for the service above, please contact us at 311.
I am a senior citizen and am not able to shovel snow on my private property, are there any agencies that can assist me?
There are many agencies that assist seniors and persons with disabilities.

For more information on all types of services provided, not only snow removal, please call Community Home Services Project at 204-948-4392 or visit their website at http://seniors.cimnet.ca/ Please check the MTS Telephone Directory for more agencies and contact them directly for details.
Who do I contact if my neighbour is dumping snow onto my property?
Snow being dumped onto your private property is a matter between you and your neighbour and the City does not get involved. If you have tried to discuss the problem with your neighbour and have been unable to resolve this issue, you can contact Mediation Services at 204-925-3410 and/or a lawyer to answer any legal questions you may have.
Can I move snow from my private property onto a city right of way?
BY-LAW 1481/77 SECTION 2.08:

As per By-Law 1481/ 77 Section 2.08 - 'No person shall move snow or ice from private property onto a city right-of-way' i.e.: Street, sidewalk, back lane, etc.

In the event that you have witnessed a situation such as this, please contact Public Works at 311. A By-Law Enforcement Officer will investigate situation, and if necessary, issue a notice.
Can I dump snow onto a vacant lot?
Citizens are not allowed to dump or take snow from one location and dump it onto another property.

The City's Planning, Property and Development Department Zoning Branch is responsible for the enforcement of violations of this nature.

Please contact 311 for further information.
Does the Public Works Department clear loading zones?
Loading Zone designations only restricts parking in the restricted area. It does not confer any special snow clearing status, and it does not restrict snow storage areas. The only loading zone locations that are cleared by the city are those designated by Handi -Transit.

Windrows (ridges of snow) resulting from snow plowing operations shall not be removed from loading zones serving commercial, industrial or apartment buildings.
Does the City have Toboggan Slides?
Yes. You can find out more information by clicking on the link below:
Are there any Community Clubs with Outdoor Hockey Rinks?
Rinks are available for casual use at various Community Centres around the city.
Does the City operate any outdoor Skating Rinks?
The City operates numerous skating rinks located in parks, schools sites and at Community Centres. Certain highly-used skating rinks have heated washrooms and warming shelters which are open to the public throughout the week as well as posted hours on weekends. Many small neighbourhood rinks are also maintained for public use.
Does the City operate any Cross-Country Ski Trails?
The Parks and Open Space Division believe that the city has some of the best groomed classic cross-country ski trails in the province and is quite pleased to offer this valuable outdoor winter recreation service to the residents of Winnipeg. Each season, many compliments are received regarding the ski trails and a greater interest has been shown in the sport by both the general public and students from the local school system.
Can I still call 204-775-SNOW (204-775-7669) to get a recorded message about parking bans?
No, this number is no longer in use. For plowing schedules during a residential parking ban, contact 311 or visit KNOW YOUR ZONE or download our app to your mobile device.
I live on a Snow Route. Will I be ticketed/towed if there is a Residential Parking Ban in November?
It is somewhat unusual to have a Residential Parking Ban in place before December 1, when the annual Snow Route Parking Ban (on streets designated as Snow Routes) is normally implemented. Snow Routes do not have zone designations, therefore, if a Residential Parking Ban is declared before December 1, there is not a parking restriction on Snow Routes, until December 1 when the Snow Route Parking Ban is implemented.
Last update: January 22, 2016