Calgarians parked on snow routes forced to dig out vehicles

Many Calgarians are scrambling to move their vehicles out of massive snowdrifts to avoid a ticket or tow after the city issued a snow route parking ban this morning.

600 tickets issued so far, but city officials say compliance is improving

UPDATE: This story was updated on June 9, 2016, to remove one man's name and photo at his request for personal safety reasons.

Many Calgarians are scrambling to move their vehicles to avoid a ticket or tow after the city issued a snow route parking ban this morning.  

Snow routes in Skyview Ranch were lined with vehicles earlier today, but Mother Nature may be to blame. 

Some residents had to dig out their vehicles from snow piled higher than the door handle after heavy winds during Monday's blizzard created massive snowdrifts.

A snow route parking ban went into effect at 9 a.m. MT Wednesday. (City of Calgary)

One man, who asked not to be identified, said he cleared out one vehicle, but took a break before shovelling out his other one.

"It's tough work, someone's got to do it though," he said. "I won't be going to the gym for a couple days, I'll tell you that."

Under the policy, parking is restricted on designated routes for 72 hours or until the city announces the ban has been lifted. 

Snow routes include major roadways, collector roads and most bus routes, and are marked by blue signs with a white snowflake icon.

Those who park on a designated route may be tagged and towed at the owner's expense. The Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) can also charge a $40 fine, which increases as time passes.

ParkPlus zones exempt during day

Vehicles can continue to park in ParkPlus zones located on snow routes during the day from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. MT. 

Closed roads

City crews are continuing to plow and apply a sand and gravel mixture called "pickle" to roads around Calgary, but due to heavy accumulations of snow in some areas there are a few closures.

The following roads remain closed until further notice:

  • Country Hills Boulevard between Métis Trail and Barlow Trail N.E.
  • 36th Street N.E. between 80th Avenue and Country Hills Boulevard.

Visit for up-to-date road closure and incident information.

CPA also offers complimentary overnight use of their parkades and parking lots from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. MT during snow events.

Patricio Guiterrez had to boost his car to be able to move it.

"You gotta roll with the punches," he said, but added he wasn't sure where he would move his car to.

Muhammad Syed is in a tough spot. His car broke down a few weeks ago and it's sitting on a snow route.

"Maybe I need to bring a tow truck or something," he said.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says none of the five snow route parking bans issued by the city so far have lasted the full three days since they were first introduced, but this one could.

City open to reviewing policy

He says if the 72-hour ban causes hardship for people, especially if the road is already plowed, then the city can review the policy.

"We need everyone to move their vehicle wherever possible because it makes it safer for everyone," said Nenshi.

Transit detours

Many Calgary Transit routes were forced to take detours during this week's blizzard. Crews have cleared some routes to get them back on track, but two detours remain:

  • Route 419 is detoured via Macleod Trail to Mission Road northbound and southbound.
  • Route 71 is detoured and will remain on Taradale Drive and travel west on 80th Avenue N.E. to north on Saddletowne Circle and reverse for southbound.

For more information on snow-related bus detours, visit

"If your car is still there that means that little plot where your car is will never actually get plowed — they are not going to plow through you they are going to plow around you — and that makes it less safe for everyone. So if you can move your car you should. If you are really immobilized then just leave a note on your windshield."

Roughly 600 tickets were handed out by CPA before 4:30 p.m., but officials say compliance is improving.

"Every year we have seen an increase in compliance and an increase in efficiency in terms of snowplowing," said Julie Yepishina-Geller with the city's transportation department on Tuesday.

Completely clearing the snow from roads will help city and school buses, which pullover to the side to pickup passengers. 

"Just the logistics of buses being able to move faster if there is no vehicles on the street, it makes for sure that it would help," said Theresa Schroder with Calgary Transit.

The city has implemented its seven-day snow and ice control plan.

Car2go, a car sharing initiative, is warning customers that if one of its cars is parked along one of the snow routes it is the driver who is responsible for the ticket and tow. 


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