A city councillor is blasting the city for banning all parking on snow routes for the entire winter.

The city is erecting signs on neighbourhood bus routes banning parking from mid November to mid March.

"To have no parking totally for five months is really pushing it," said Coun. Ed Gibbons. "We could have a mild winter and automatically they're not (allowed to) parked there."

The ban was imposed in response to the city's disastrous street-clearing efforts last January when a snowstorm dumped 30 centimetres of snow. A city report later blamed parking on residential streets for slowing snow removal efforts.

Gibbons said he was blindsided when he learned the no-parking signs were going up in advance of the transportation committee meeting next Tuesday, where the issue was to be discussed.

"There is more than one councillor totally shocked in this when these signs went up (before) the meeting next week."

He said he's fielding calls from people living along the snow routes who were equally surprised.

Most the callers prefer the snow route policy in the 1980s where motorists were  allowed to park on the street until a snowstorm when they would be required to move their vehicles, Gibbons said.

But city officials said last winter's combination of parked cars and wind rows reduced some roads to only one lane, making it impossible for buses to get through.

The new snow routes are more proactive, said Bob Dunford, the city's transportation operations director.  

"If we have a seasonal parking ban in effect, everyone knows in advance," he said. "They know it's there, they know when it starts, there's no ambiguity as to when it's going to be declared."

Dunford says staff have started putting up the signs as 10,000 must be in place before Nov. 15.

He said provisions within existing bylaws allow them to do so, but he acknowleged council has the authority to make them stop.