Winter Maintenance and Snow Removal

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For your travel safety and convenience, the Town provides winter road maintenance in accordance with the Province’s Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways.

When roads become icy, an initial pass of sand/salt is applied to all primary roads (i.e. high volume traffic) first, followed by all secondary roads (i.e. low volume traffic).

When snow continues to accumulate, an initial plowing pass is applied to all primary roads first followed by all secondary roads.

Additional passes or changes to treatment responses may occur if staff encounters severe winter events or restricted resources.  Therefore longer completion times may result. Your patience and co-operation is greatly appreciated in these circumstances.

 

Overnight On-Street Parking Restrictions

As per the Traffic and Parking By-law for the Town of Georgina, on-street parking is not permitted from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., November 15 to April 15*. This ensures the Town can completely clear streets of snow and that large emergency vehicles can get down the street. This does not apply to streets listed in Schedule III of By-law 2002-0046 (TR-1).

*Exception: Winter Maintenance Events

Outside of the above time period, overnight on-street parking will not be permitted should a "Winter Maintenance Event" be declared (communicated via the Town’s website, Facebook, Twitter, radio and news media). Winter Maintenance Events can be declared when anticipated weather requires snow plowing, sanding, salting, direct liquid application, snow removal or other winter maintenance operations.
 
 

Levels of Service

The Town has developed carefully planned levels of winter road service to combat the diverse weather conditions we see every winter. A combination of Town-owned trucks and contracted units provide effective snow plowing services to Town roads through our Priority and Secondary route system (map to follow).
This system assigns priority to all major roads with the highest traffic in the Town. To ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians, these major routes are serviced on a 24/7 basis when necessary. Secondary routes (all residential streets in the Town) are attended to regularly, but less often than Priority routes.
With a system of service based around snow levels and maintenance times, we can attempt to keep roads safe and maintained efficiently. Contract road plows maintain Priority routes 24/7; Town-owned units are responsible for Secondary routes.
 
 

Responsibilities

Town's Responsibilities

Including 333 km of road, 140 km of sidewalks,  25 parking lots, 31 crosswalks, and five YRT bus shelters.

Parking, Bus Shelters

During winter, our Parks & Facilities Division ensures that all public services areas provided by the Town are as safe and accessible as possible. The Parks and Facilities Division maintains Town-owned parking zones and lots.
Public bus shelters are maintained by the Town of Georgina.

Parks and the ROC

The Town of Georgina does not maintain parks, hills, or the majority of the trails during the winter months; users assume all risk. The only trails that the Town maintains during winter are, Pleasant Wood Trail, Watson Trail and Thornlodge Trail. The Recreational Outdoor Campus (ROC) is the only facility that the Town maintains.

Sidewalks

Sidewalks can be cleared by the adjoining property owners as required, or proactively. Sidewalks are cleared by Town crews, as a level of service. The Town anticipates all sidewalks will be plowed at least once within 24 hours after a typical winter event. 
With sidewalks of various shapes and sizes, crews use an arsenal of tools for sidewalk maintenance including six (6) sidewalk plows with sanders, and snow blower attachments. Using different tools allows us to safely and properly maintain winter sidewalks in two ways:
 
1. Helps to reduce sod damage caused by sidewalk plows;
2. Allows for more extensive maintenance of different sized and shaped sidewalks. 
 
Residents are asked to try to keep vehicles parked away from sidewalks so both our road and sidewalks plows can better clean the roads.
 
 

Residents' Responsibilities

Adhering to Winter Parking Restrictions

As per the Traffic and Parking By-law, parking is not permitted on most streets from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., November 15 through April 15. This assists the Town so we can completely clear streets of snow and that large emergency vehicles can get down the street. Outside of this time period, overnight on-street parking will not be permitted should a "Winter Maintenance Event" be declared (communicated via the Town’s website, Facebook, Twitter, radio and news media).

Keeping Cleared Snow on Property

The Town devotes a great deal of resources to keep streets and sidewalks clear of snow and ice after a snowfall. Residents often deposit snow and ice from their property onto the street or sidewalk not realizing that this contravenes municipal regulations, contributes to unsafe driving and walking conditions, and increases the cost of providing winter road maintenance. When you're clearing snow from your driveway, please keep this snow on your property. Your efforts in making winter driving and walking safe for everyone are appreciated.
Tip for clearing driveways: Piling snow to the right side of the driveway can help reduce the amount of snow pushed back into the driveway. Standing in the driveway and looking at the street determines the right side. Don’t forget to remove your parked car from the street during snow removal operations.

Ensuring Children’s Safety

Please ensure that your children do not play where snow is piled at the side of the road or in the middle of courts where snowplow operators may not see them.

Contributing to Safe Winter Walking

During winter months, snow and ice make walking very difficult. Here are some suggestions to help keep winter walking safe for everyone:
Clear snow and ice away from catch basins and hydrants in front of your property.
When clearing snow from parking lots do not push it into adjacent public land.
During and immediately after a snowstorm, reduce your driving speed to account for slippery road conditions and snow clearing operations.
During thaws, reduce your driving speed to avoid splashing pedestrians and prevent water from splashing onto the sidewalk where it will freeze into ice and become a hazard.
Please do not park any vehicles over the sidewalk. Even a partially blocked sidewalk prevents the plows from doing their job properly (By-law 2002-0046 (TR-1).
Please ensure that any structures are placed well back of the property line.

Avoiding Daytime On-street Parking During Snow Removal Operations

Parked cars make plowing difficult and sometimes impossible. With your help, winter maintenance crews can plow faster and more efficiently and you will reduce the chances of having to dig your car out of a snow bank.

Keeping Road Allowances Clear

To facilitate the removal of snow from sidewalks and to prevent damage to private property, residents are required not to place cars, fences, posts, hedges, shrubs, driveway curbs or other obstructions on the road allowance. The Town will not be responsible for damage to items placed on Town property by property owners.

Assisting with Keeping Fire Hydrants Clear

The Town of Georgina has approximately 1386 hydrants that need to be kept clear every time there is a snow fall. The Town works hard to keep hydrants clear and available for emergencies, however with heavy snow falls, this can be challenging.
Residents are asked to assist by keeping fire hydrants on their properties clear of snow. Hydrants should have a clearing of one metre (three feet) all around and there should be a clear path to the street to ensure firefighters can readily access them. A hydrant can help save lives and property in your neighbourhood, if you see a hydrant that’s buried this winter, please do the neighbourly thing and dig it out. If you need assistance with hydrant snow removal, please call 905-476-4305 ext. 2232. 

Reporting Damage to Sod

Sidewalk plowing presents many challenges; throughout the winter it is difficult to tell exactly where the edge of the sidewalk is, and when the ground is not frozen some sod damage may occur. Damage to Town sod, pavement and Town-owned trees will be repaired in the spring; the cost of both the sod and repairs is built into the Town's contract. Please call The Operations and Infrastructure Department at 905-476-4305 x 2232 (snowplow damage) or x 2230 (sidewalk plow damage) when you notice the damage and your address will be added to a list for repair when materials are available.
 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

General

When and why are overnight parking restrictions in effect?

As per the Town’s Traffic and Parking by-law, parking is not permitted on all Town streets from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., November 15 to April 15. This ensures the Town can completely clear streets of snow and that large emergency vehicles can get down the street. Streets listed in Schedule III are exempt. 
 
They are in place from November 15 through April 15 each year because it's never certain when winter weather will hit. Sometimes snow squalls happen overnight or we see freezing rain in the forecast (when that happens, the crews have to get out before the storm to prepare the roads). Further, stipulating set dates within the by-law ensures that the enforcement period is objectively measured, leaving no room for (mis)interpretation — forecasts can vary! — or likely missed last-minute communications as weather patterns change.
*Overnight on-street parking will not be permitted should a "Winter Maintenance Event" be declared (communicated via the Town’s website, Facebook, Twitter, radio and news media).

Why isn't 24/7 service provided on secondary routes?

Due to Provincial Regulations which can be viewed at the following link (http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_060555_e.htm#BK5), there is a maximum number of hours that plow drivers can be on duty. Further, all drivers are typically required in at the same time on all routes to provide a consistent level of service across the Town during snowfall. Therefore, more staff would need to be hired for an additional shift if the Town were to provide 24/7 service on secondary (residential) routes, resulting in increased costs that would likely have an impact on ratepayers.
 
Priority routes (cleared 24/7) are set up so that residents don't have to travel far to get to a road that is maintained throughout the day and night.
 

Road Plowing

My street doesn’t get plowed but the next street over, which is a residential street the same as mine, gets plowed every time it snows. Why?

All roads are treated with the same sand/salt mix, in priority sequence.

Why do we salt/sand a road and then come along and plow it all off?

In a continuing snow storm, we apply salt/sand mix to the road surface early in the storm. This causes a melting action that helps to prevent snow that falls later from freezing to the road surface. When the plow does come along, the road gets cleaned down to the pavement and we do not get a frozen snow pack that is very difficult and expensive to remove later.

My driveway gets filled with snow to great depth every time the plow comes around, but my neighbour across the road gets almost nothing. Can’t you take the snow somewhere else?

Most of these calls come from residents with driveways that are the first ones to the right of an intersection or are the first driveway when entering the bulb of a cul-de-sac. The reason for the problem is that when a snowplow turns to the right it sweeps a much larger area of the road than when it is travelling in a straight line. The snow also does not discharge from the plow when it is turning hard right because the plows are angled from left to right on the truck. Turning right effectively makes the plow push all the snow ahead instead of moving it from the center of the road to the side.                               
 
The first driveway encountered after plow straightens out usually gets more snow than others in the immediate area. We can’t do much about this in most cases but it should be reported to the on-call 905-476-4301 (follow the prompts if after hours). If there is enough room we can sometimes get rid of some of the snow before the driveway is reached. Another point to understand, is that a fixed snowplow cannot carry snow around to put it where desired. The plow moves snow from the centre of the road to the side of the road – period – the driver cannot change that.

There is always a car parked on the street and the plow makes a mess trying to get around it. Can’t you have it towed away?

During the day, unless the street is posted as “No Parking”, it is legal to park on the road and the Town cannot do anything about it. Parking is prohibited during the winter (November 15 to April 15) on any street between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., with the exception of streets listed in Schedule III. If the plow comes across a parked car that is causing problems during those hours we can request the police to remove it. We can also request the police to remove a car or cars parked in a way that prevents the snowplow from passing. The Town can only make requests to the police, it is up to them whether the vehicles are removed or just ticketed. Residents can assist us reporting these instances to the Town and we will follow up with the offending property. If they do not wish to comply, the Town will ticket the offending vehicle(s).  

Why is the plow scraping the pavement?

For larger snow falls it is common to do an initial pass to clear streets and then follow up with a second pass to clear and new fallen and residual snow and to wing back the banks to make room for snow storage that will be required for future storms.
 
Residential streets are also plowed when they become soft or slushy to prevent ruts, pot holes and icy conditions from developing when the temperature drops and the road re-freezes. When milder temperatures are experienced it also causes additional melt water that can lead to pooling of water and other drainage/flooding problems if catch basins are covered with ice and snow. Slush is removed from the edge of road to improve drainage leading to and around catch basins during the plowing process. Residents can assist the Town if there is a catch basin in front of their property, they could clear the snow off it through thaw periods. 
 
 

Sidewalk Plowing

The sidewalk gets cleared on one side of my street but not the other. Why?

We try to get one side of the street open on as many streets as possible as soon as possible and then come back to clear the rest. Sidewalk priorities include school zones, public buildings, etc. which generate a high level of pedestrian traffic.

Why are the sidewalks often done first, then the plow comes by after and pushes the snow back on the sidewalks?

We frequently have issues with snow plows filling in sidewalks that are in close proximity to the road. Staff do their best to coordinate sidewalk clearing to take place following road plowing however this is difficult during larger and extended storms when multiple passes are required to clear roads. Sidewalk machines with blowers travel much slower than road plows, making it difficult to keep up.
This issue is especially common on bridges: bridge decks are cleared on a regular basis but can become built up with snow overtime due to limited space for snow storage on these structures. Roads and Parks & Facilities Division carries out snow lift/removals on bridges as required to make room for continued maintenance.

Why do I see sidewalks plows driving on the road?

The Town has a system of priority routes on arterial roads and residential routes that are assigned to various operators. Sidewalk plows often travel on roads to and from their route or work location as it is a quicker method of travel than by sidewalk.

Why are sidewalks sometimes so icy? 

The Town’s service level for winter control on sidewalks is to maintain them to a snow-packed condition, and sidewalk plows/blowers are not capable of clearing snow and ice from sidewalks to the extent that bare concrete is exposed in all conditions. 
 
Snow and ice often bonds to the concrete during extreme temperatures, and ice can also form on snow packed sidewalks during thaw/freeze cycles. Other factors, such as overgrown sod on the edge of the sidewalk or a buildup of residual ice and snow under wheel tracks, can cause the edge of the plow or blower to ride above the surface of the sidewalk. All affected areas are treated with sand for traction.

Why is a sidewalk plow sanding the sidewalk today when rain and warm temperatures are in the forecast?

This is done when fluctuating temperatures are causing melting snow/ice that freezes as the temperature drops, resulting in slippery conditions on the sidewalks. Town sidewalk plows sand these areas in the interest of public safety to prevent slip and falls. The sanding process involves travelling the entire route to identify areas that require sanding; although the plow may not have been applying sand when you saw it, there may have been conditions elsewhere along the route that required sanding.

Are the blades on the Town's sidewalk plows wider than the standard?

The Town’s sidewalk machines blades are 58” wide (Cubex and Trackless) and 60” wide (Case Tractors).
 
 

Electronic Spreader Controls

What is an ESC?

An ESC is a device installed in winter service vehicles that allow the operator to control the amount and location anti-icing sand/salting and pre-wetting materials are spread. This results in accurately dispersed materials, we call it a Dicki-John.

What does an ESC accomplish?

Electronic spreader controls minimize salt/sand wastage by distributing the appropriate application rate. An ESC controls the amount of salt/sand dispersed based on the vehicle's speed. This maintains a consistent and accurate application of materials.
 
Example: If a snow maintenance vehicle is traveling at a certain speed, an ESC is able to monitor the speed and adjust spreading levels accordingly.
 
 
 

Want More Information?

For further information regarding the Town’s winter road maintenance program please call the Department of Operations and Infrastructure at 905-476-4301 ext. 2232.