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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Thursday, November 25, 2010

City of Toronto gets ready for winter season


The City of Toronto’s fleet of snowplows, salt trucks and sidewalk plows are geared up and ready to handle whatever winter throws at the city this year.

“Winter is just around the corner and we are ready for it,” said Gary Welsh, General Manager, Transportation Services. “Our equipment and staff are ready again this year to keep Toronto’s streets and sidewalks clear during the winter season.”

The City has 600 snowplows, 300 sidewalk plows, 200 salt trucks and more than 1,600 staff ready to tackle the winter season.

“Again this year, our main goal is to keep the main roads clear for emergency and TTC vehicles. After we’re satisfied that they are in good shape, then we can move on to the local roads,” said Welsh, adding that local roads will be completed between 14 and 16 hours after a storm ends.

As soon as the snow begins, Transportation Services sends out its fleet of salt trucks to the expressways and main roads as well as some trucks to local roads. If the city receives five centimetres of snow, the plows are sent to the expressways and main roads and plowing will take place for the duration of the storm. 

When the snow stops and if the snow accumulation reaches eight centimetres, plows will be sent to the local roads. Normally, local road plowing will be completed between 14 and 16 hours after the storm has ended.

The City will clear snow from sidewalks on local roads where it is mechanically possible to do so after eight centimetres of snow has fallen (five centimetres in January and February). In the central core of the city, property owners are required to clear their sidewalks of snow 12 hours after a storm has taken place. To learn more about sidewalk snow clearing in Toronto and to view a map of where the service takes place, visit the website at http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/snow/sidewalks.

The City of Toronto’s levels of service for snow clearing meet or exceed those set by the Province of Ontario for municipalities and road authorities. These levels of service were adopted by Toronto City Council in 2009. 

Residents who have questions about snow clearing efforts in their area can call 311.

The public can help the City’s efforts in clearing snow by doing a few simple things such as not pushing snow back onto the road after clearing snow from their sidewalks and driveways, avoiding parking on city streets in order to help the plows do their work, and by taking public transit whenever possible.

In 2010-11, the City will again concentrate on an improved level of service for sidewalk snow clearing. This includes increasing service on main streets with high pedestrian volumes and frequent transit stops, streamlining the service so that it follows closely behind roadway plowing, and enhancing service to prevent ice build-up on sidewalks in prolonged cold periods.

Transportation Services will also continue to reduce salt use as part of its Salt Management Plan. The City has improved its fleet of salt spreading trucks, has provided better training for staff who operate salt trucks, and has improved salt storage and handling techniques.

More information about the City’s winter operations is available at http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/snow.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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