Frequently asked questions

Snow clearing & ice control

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 the Council approved Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy, windrows left by snow plows from back lane plowing operations are not removed by the City. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to do so.

Learn more about the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

Is there a street priority system in place for snow removal?

For the purposes of snow clearing, Winnipeg’s street system is classified in three categories – Priority 1 (P1), Priority 2 (P2), and Priority 3 (P3). At some times, certain streets may be plowed on an accelerated basis for any number of reasons.

Learn more about the priority system.

What is the difference between a regional street and a collector street?

Regional Streets (P1) are major routes such as Portage Avenue and Main Street.

Collector streets (P2) include non-regional bus routes and streets that collect traffic from the surrounding residential streets. Streets categories are determined by a few factors, such as traffic volumes and number of lanes.

Learn more about the priority system.

Does the City remove high piles of snow?

Crews monitor visibility at intersections on a regular basis throughout the winter months and any identified high piles at bus stops, crosswalks, lane entrances, and intersections are reduced to improve the line of sight for motorists and pedestrians.

Priority is given to high piles located on P1 and P2 streets, and to intersections and lane entrances in the vicinity of elementary schools.

High snow piles at entrances to school parking lots and bus staging areas are the responsibility of the school unless the adjacent sidewalk is obstructed, preventing pedestrian traffic.

The City does not remove high piles at private approaches or private entrances.

Learn more about the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

When will the City clear sidewalks on major routes or in the Downtown area?

Sidewalks along P1 and P2 streets are cleared to a compacted snow surface upon inspection following an accumulation of 5 cm of snow.

Sidewalks Downtown are cleared to the paved surface, when possible, within 36 hours following an accumulation of 5 cm of snow.

Learn more about the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

The sidewalk plow went by and left a windrow, blocking my pathway; will the City remove it?

The ridge of snow, or windrow, left behind on your private approach following a sidewalk plowing operation is the responsibility of the property owner to remove.

Learn more about the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

Does the City remove boulevard windrows from major routes and collector streets?

At locations where there is insufficient snow storage capacity, such as on bridges and underpasses, and along major routes (P1) and bus routes and collector streets (P2), windrows are removed either with frontend loaders or snow blowers, and hauled by truck to a snow disposal site.

What is the procedure for removing windrows from schools?

High snow piles at entrances to school parking lots and bus staging areas are the responsibility of the school unless the adjacent sidewalk is obstructed, preventing pedestrian traffic.

Learn more about the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

When does the City clear bus stops after a storm?

All efforts are made to maintain bus routes and bus stop platforms in a safe, snow-free condition. The clearing of bus stops is carried out by crews as part of snow clearing operations.

The plowing standard is one bus-length for normal bus stops. Locations where multiple buses regularly pull up are cleared to approximately three 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 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 cleanup 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?

Weather permitting, the City uses salt to improve traction and prevent the formation of ice on P1 and P2 streets when temperatures are above -7 degrees Celsius.

Learn more about the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

Does the City use sand on streets?

To improve traction on the roadway when temperatures are colder than -7 degrees Celsius, crews spread treated sand (which includes approximately 5 percent salt) as required to improve traction on roadways.

Learn more about the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

Why and when does the City use beet juice on streets?

A beet based-melting solution is only one of many tools the City uses for snow and ice control on our roads, and is not a replacement for either salt or sand which have different applications. The benefits of using a beet based melting product is that it produces a good quality melting solution effective in colder temperatures (lower than -7 degrees Celsius), the solution is tacky and adheres well to the roadway, plus its an organic material so it reduces the amount of chlorides in the solution. It is used for anti-icing roads, bridges and overpasses and pre-wetting sand and salt during application.

When does the City clear back lanes?

Back lanes are given an accelerated priority for accessibility reasons and to accommodate garbage and recycling collection. Back lanes are normally maintained to a compacted snow surface as opposed to bare pavement. Plowing of back lanes occurs after an inspection warrants a clearing operation, usually following a 5 cm snowfall accumulation or equivalent local drifting conditions. Back lanes should be plowed within three days of the end of an average storm.

Generally, back lane plowing should be undertaken concurrently with P1 and P2 streets. During extended periods of mild weather, it may be necessary to undertake additional plowing of back lanes, where specifically warranted, to reduce rutting.

As per the Council-approved Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy, windrows left by snow plows from back lane plowing operations are not removed by the City. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to do so.

Learn more about the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

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.

Why does the City dump snow on my boulevard?

During a plowing operation, snow is stored on boulevards in the public right-of-way. Residents are reminded that the City’s 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. Residents are reminded that the City’s boulevard is used for snow storage.

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 the City, 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 driveways do not quality for this service. The following criteria must be met to qualify for this special service:

  1. The property owner/occupant has an accessibility issue 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 with a copy of a doctor’s certificate.

Where applicable, a Bylaw Enforcement Officer will personally interview the applicant to verify the above criteria.

For more information, please contact 311.

I am a senior and I 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 accessibility issues. For more information on all types of services provided, please call the Community Home Services Program at 204-927-1720.

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?

No, that is not permitted. In the event that you have witnessed a situation such as this, please contact 311. A Bylaw Enforcement Officer will investigate the situation, and if necessary, issue a notice.

Can I dump snow onto a vacant lot?

Residents are not allowed to dump or take snow from one location and dump it onto another property.

Does the City clear loading zones?

A loading zone designation does not have a 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 Winnipeg Transit Plus.

Windrows (ridges of snow) resulting from snow plowing operations are not removed from loading zones serving commercial, industrial, or apartment buildings.

Why is the City spending money on improving winter maintenance on priority active transportation routes city-wide?

OurWinnipeg, approved by Council in 2011, identified winter maintenance of active transportation as a priority. The 2015 Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies, which lay out guiding principles for network connectivity and improving year-round maintenance access, further supported enhanced maintenance.

To facilitate an informed improved maintenance strategy, the City engaged with a number of stakeholder groups and presented to Council recommendations for making daily walking and cycling convenient and accessible year-round for people of all ages and abilities.

On June 21, 2018, Council concurred in the recommendation of the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works that the Council Policy on Snow Clearing and Ice Control be amended for the 2018 snow season and beyond to include the winter re-prioritization of the roadways, sidewalks and active transportation pathways for improved snow clearing.

How will the City clear all the active transportation priority routes within 36 hours following a significant snowfall?

The City will hire additional hourly equipment and operators to achieve the required level of service on the active transportation priority routes.

How were the priority active transportation routes determined?

The City established priority routes through consultation with various stakeholders and an internal technical review.

Is there an opportunity to provide feedback about the new maintenance strategy?

We would like to hear feedback from users of the active transportation pathways; residents can call 311 with their comments. We will review this feedback in spring 2020 and determine if any adjustments to prioritization are required.

If my street is reclassified to receive P1 snow clearing, will I also get a higher level of spring cleanup service, particularly to deal with the sand remaining from sanding operations?

We are not reclassifying spring cleanup service levels; however, residents who feel their boulevard has in excess of two wheelbarrows’ worth of sand at the time of spring cleanup are asked to call 311 to schedule cleaning.

What are the benefits of maintaining priority active transportation routes to a higher level of service?

The improved method of winter maintenance for priority active transportation routes city-wide will ensure that key pedestrian and cycling routes are cleared quickly following a snowfall to provide uninterrupted and effective connections between various neighbourhoods, transit facilities, and the downtown.

How many kilometers of streets and sidewalks have been reclassified to the new increased priority?

Approximately 328 km of streets, 170 km of sidewalks, 55 km of active transportation pathways, and 14 km of parks pathways have been reclassified.

When will the new plan begin?

The new priority AT maintenance operations will begin with the 2019-20 snow season.

Parking bans

What are parking bans?

The City has five winter parking bans that can be declared to support snow clearing operations.

Learn more about parking ban descriptions.

How can I find out whether a property is on a snow route?

For information on snow routes, you can consult the snow route map and search an address.

Can I have the Snow Route Parking Ban changed on my street?

It’s important that crews be able to conduct their work in an efficient and effective manner, and vehicles parked on the street present significant challenges to snow clearing operations.

The most efficient way to ensure residents respect the overnight parking bans is a clear and consistent application and enforcement, which is why the Snow Route Parking Ban is applied in a similar manner on all designated streets.

The timeframe that the ban is in effect, from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., was developed to respect business needs and to ensure snow is cleared ahead of the morning rush hour period.

What happens if I’m parked on a street with Temporary "No Parking" signs?

Temporary "No Parking" signs are used to prohibit vehicles from parking on streets so snow removal equipment can perform their operations. Vehicles parked on the street at the time the temporary signs are placed are documented, and that information is shared with Parking Compliance Officers. Only vehicles parked after the signs went up will be ticketed 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 will be towed out of the way of snow plows to nearby locations. Vehicle owners can contact 311 to find out the location of their vehicle.

During a parking ban, can I park on a street that has already been cleared of snow?

There are situations in which snow removal equipment may conduct a second pass or return to do additional work. We ask that residents respect parking bans to ensure crews are able to efficiently and effectively plow streets.

When does the Annual Snow Route Parking Ban take effect?

Parking is prohibited on all streets designated as a snow route annually from December 1 to March 1 between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., and snow route signs are displayed on these streets.

Where can I find out whether a property is subject to a residential parking ban?

Residents can search an address online for more information, or download the Know Your Zone app, to receive push notifications.

What’s the difference between an annual snow route parking ban and the extended snow route parking ban?

When declared, the Extended Snow Route Parking Ban extends parking restrictions on designated snow routes by two hours, from to midnight to 7 a.m.

For more information, visit the Parking Bans webpage or register for email notification of upcoming parking bans.

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.

Will my car be towed away if it is in violation of the residential parking ban?

Vehicles that are not in compliance with the parking ban are likely to be towed and relocated to a nearby street. As such, vehicles will not be towed to the towing company's compound. The location of these relocated vehicles can be found by contacting 311.

Will my residential street always have the same snow zone letter designation?

Residents are advised to check their snow zone letter at the beginning of the winter season, as the snow zone letter may change from year-to-year.

To find out your snow zone letter, search your address or download the Know Your Zone app.

Learn more about snow routes.

Is it possible that my snow zone will be scheduled for more than one 12-hour shift of snow clearing?

It is possible that your snow zone may need to be scheduled for more than a single 12-hour shift. This could occur when the progress of the snow clearing operation is delayed due to heavy accumulations of snow and ice, or when plowing is required during extreme cold temperatures. If additional plowing is required, crews will return to your street after the overall plowing operation is completed to finish clearing your location.

Where can I get information on the City’s plowing operations?

For information on plowing operations, refer to the snow clearing status map.

My street wasn't scheduled to be plowed last night, but snow clearing equipment came down the street anyway – how come?

In some cases, crews are able to proceed faster than expected, and may move into areas that have not been identified for plowing for that shift.

In those instances, the plowing crews clear the non-parking side of the street only. The parking side of the street would then be scheduled for clearing the next shift when the residential parking ban applies.

How are residential streets prioritized for plowing?

Residential streets are prioritized based on several factors, including the day of the week and the start time of the plowing operation. Generally, plowing of residential streets is determined based on the garbage and recycling collection schedule.

My residential street was not cleared as scheduled. When will crews complete the work?

If a residential street was not cleared as scheduled, it will be cleared after plowing has been completed city-wide.

In these instances:

  • You won't be notified directly about the snow clearing.
  • Watch for temporary no parking signs that may be placed on your street.
  • Vehicles parked in violation of temporary no parking signs may be ticketed and towed.

Residents are advised to contact 311 following the completion of the residential plowing operation to report a missed street.

For information on plowing operations, refer to the snow clearing status map.

I live on a road in a rural location in Winnipeg which is prone to drifting snow. Do I have a snow zone and am I plowed as a residential street?

No, snow zones do not apply to roads in rural locations in Winnipeg, and the street would not be included when a residential parking ban is declared. Plowing will be undertaken at a separate time with no additional parking restrictions.

I work on a street in an industrial area of Winnipeg. Is it assigned a snow zone?

No, snow zones do not apply to streets in industrial areas of Winnipeg, and the street is not included when a residential parking ban is declared. Snow clearing will be undertaken at a separate time with no additional parking restrictions.

I live at a location that has a front street address, but with no front street access, only rear access. Do I have a snow zone and am I plowed as a residential street?

No, the street is cleared as a back lane and snow zones do not apply. Plowing will be undertaken at a separate time with no additional parking restrictions.

I live on a service road adjacent to a main route/bus route, when will my street be cleared?

Service roads are cleared as part of the residential street snow clearing operation and as such are assigned a snow zone letter.

If required, where parked cars are problematic to the snow clearing operation, temporary no parking signs will be placed on the service road to aid snow clearing at a later time.

Residents can sign up for notifications and download the Know Your Zone app, for updates.

Know Your Zone app

What does the Know Your Zone app do?

The City developed the Know Your Zone app for mobile devices, available in French & English, to provide residents with an easy to access, up-to-date snow zone information when a residential parking ban is declared.

By using the GPS capabilities of your mobile device, combined with either the app’s interactive mapping feature or by entering an address, you can get more information about:

  • The snow-related parking bans in effect
  • The designated snow zone associated with an address
  • The residential snow clearing schedule based on the snow zone
  • The snow clearing activities underway on a colour coded map

You can also sign up for push notifications through the app to notify you when a residential parking ban is in effect for addresses saved as favourites.

When I checked Know Your Zone, my address was not assigned a snow zone. What should I do?

This means the street is not a residential street, and the residential parking ban doesn't apply.

  • Your street might be a P1 or P2 street, or your street may be in a rural area where parking bans are not required.
  • Many P1 and P2 streets are marked with snow routes signs. Check for these signs on your street and be advised:
    • In the winter (December 1 and March 1), parking is restricted on snow routes between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. nightly.
    • Vehicles parked in violation of the annual snow route parking ban will receive a ticket in the amount of $150.00 ($112.50 if paid early), and may be towed to the towing company's compound.

Learn more about parking ban descriptions.

I don't have a smart phone, how can I access this information about snow zones?

There are several ways you can access information without the app by:

Is there more than one Know Your Zone app?

There is only one official City of Winnipeg Know Your Zone app and it will state this when you view the information in the app store.

How do I add a favourite?

When you search for an address and get a result screen, tapping the star at the top will add that address to your list of favourites.

How do I remove a favourite from the list?

Swiping left on the favourite address will give you the option to delete it from the list.

How do I set a location so that I receive a notification before plowing starts in my zone?

By setting an address as a favourite, you will automatically receive a notification for that address prior to plowing in that zone as long as you have Location Services turned on for the app.

Why is the current location of my phone not accurately reflected on the mapping feature?

For the GPS mapping feature to function correctly, the app’s Location Services must be activated on your mobile device. If problems persist, compare the accuracy of the GPS provided by your mobile device by testing it with Google Maps compared to the app.

Please note that GPS works best for most mobile devices when outside, so it's a good idea to test it outside as well to check the accuracy of the GPS on your mobile device, compared to using it indoors. Sometimes the GPS on your mobile device needs to be reset by going outside if Location Services hasn't been used in a while.

I know there's a residential parking ban coming up in the zone for one of my saved Favourite addresses, why doesn’t the app show me this?

The top portion of the results screen shows the CURRENT status of the address. The bottom portion of the results screen shows UPCOMING parking restrictions for the address, typically in the next 12 to 24 hours.

Why do map layers disappear when flipping between tabs?

In the current version of the app, map layers are not saved when changing between tabs.

Which device is the Know Your Zone app compatible with? What operating system do I need to use the app?

The app is compatible with iPhone/iPad devices with operating systems iOS 9.3 or iOS 10, and Android phones and tablets 4.0+.

I am trying to download the Know Your Zone app on my iPhone; why is it asking for my credit card information?

In order to download the free Know Your Zone app, you must have an Apple ID account.

For information on how to get an Apple ID, please visit:

Will there be a blackberry or windows mobile version of the Know Your Zone app?

There are no plans to develop a version of the app for Blackberry and Windows Mobile.