Stop calling 311 about residential streets: city officials
The city is asking Calgary residents to stop calling 311 about snow-packed residential roads.
"We would like to thank Calgarians for their patience during this time and ask that 311 is only contacted for emergent situations where their road is impassable," city officials said in a news release.
City snow policy states that residential streets aren't plowed.
Heavy snowfall and warmer weather has made it difficult to navigate and park on many residential streets. The city says it has analyzed snow calls to 311 and has "a full picture of what is occurring in the city."
Terry Pearce, manager of 311, said Wednesday afternoon that the service has received 1,500 calls about snow clearing since Tuesday morning. The calls are coming from every part of the city, he said.
With Environment Canada predicting a high of 10 C on Thursday, city crews are anticipating a melt and possibly flooding.
"Since Monday, graders have been removing ice and snow along gutters and in front of catch basins, sandbags have been stockpiled in all city maintenance districts and areas susceptible to flooding are being monitored," the city's release said.
311 operators getting 'short' with callers: homeowner
Angela Ulrich has called 311 several times about her street in the community of Crestmont, which she says remains almost impassable.
"I was basically bottoming out in the ruts of the road. And I looked to the left and I saw one of my neighbours digging himself out," she said. "Then my neighbour's … son was right in the middle of the road and I had to quickly get around him. And at the bottom of the road was a school bus that was stuck."
Ulrich said initially the people at the call centre were pleasant, but the tone has changed.
"They're even getting stressed by it because there's nothing they can do. It's just a call centre to handle complaints. I think people are irate and they're probably being rude and they're just being short."
Snow plow company can't respond to private requests
Ken Ruddock, the president of a local plow company, said the city won't allow contractors to plow streets due to liability issues.
"We have had a few calls from private residents wanting us to come and do their city streets, but as of right now we're not able to do that."
Ald. Andre Chabot asked the administration on Monday about alternate methods of clearing so much snow.
Hiring private firms on contract to clear residential streets has been shunned in the past because of the high price tag.
"I think it's time to review that policy," Chabot said Monday. "We don't have a bare road policy, but maybe we need to have at least something that's a little less, I guess, challenging for the average commuter."
John Hubble, general manager for the transportation manager, said December saw the worst snowfall in eight years for the city, so to require a private operator to keep the men and equipment on hand to handle a snowfall that happens that often would be cost-prohibitive.