City launches major snow removal effort

Today the City will announce plans to remove snow from some of Toronto‘s residential streets.

Removal of the snow in specific areas is required to ensure public safety for pedestrians and the disabled, provide accessibility for emergency and waste collection vehicles, and the proper and safe movement of traffic in areas where narrow roads mean any further snowfall will make roads more difficult to travel. Given the forecast for more snow and continued cold temperatures, the removal of snow in some areas is now required. Snow removal involves the physical removal of snow from the side of the street after plowing has taken place. On residential streets that allow parking on one side of the street, the snow will be removed from the opposite side of the street. Residents are asked to move their vehicles to make the street easier for crews to access. Snow will be removed from the side of the street where parking is permitted if the cars are removed. However, moving cars from these streets is not mandatory and vehicles will not be towed. On residential streets that allow parking on both sides of the street, residents will be asked to move their cars from the street to allow access to snow removal crews. Less than 5% of the streets where snow will be removed have parking on both sides of the street. On these streets, snow will be removed from both sides of the street. Residents will be given 48 hours notice to move their vehicles.

Vehicles that remain on the street when crews arrive will be given a “friendly tow” (tow to a new location without a ticket or tow charge to the vehicle owner). Arrangements have been made with the Toronto Parking Authority to permit free parking from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. in the City’s “Green P” lots in areas where residents are required to move their vehicles.

Starting next week, flyers will be delivered to affected homes to alert residents that they live on a street where snow removal will take place. The City of Toronto website will contain a regularly updated list of streets scheduled for snow removal ( The City anticipates this additional snow removal effort will be completed in 10-14 days, weather permitting. Almost 2,000 people and 600 dump trucks will make up 83 crews (up from the usual 20) and will be working 24/7. Should there be a significant snowfall during this additional effort, crews will be redeployed to plow and clear roads and sidewalks and, therefore, snow removal operations announced today will be delayed. The City’s approach to road safety in the winter is focused on plowing and salting roads to allow for safe passage of vehicles and pedestrians. Large-scale snow removal is only used in extreme situations where public safety or the large scale movement of goods and services is compromised. The anticipated cost of this additional snow removal operation is approximately up to $20 million, which will come from the 2008 winter maintenance budget. Also, through an agreement reached with Toronto Parking Enforcement, people with street permit parking will be able to move to a different zone temporarily on the days where snow removal is being done on their street. Toronto Parking Enforcement will use discretion in the issuance of tickets during the times where snow removal operations are taking place.

The public will also be reminded that when shoveling their sidewalks to keep snow off the streets to help snow removal efforts. The public is also asked to clear snow from around fire hydrants.

Please refer to attached map for snow removal areas snow-removal-plan-map.pdf