Snow causes spike in collisions city-wide

Traffic collisions continued to be up through the weekend and into the Monday morning commute following several days of continuous snowfall.
A truck rear-ends a city bus Thursday morning near 83rd Street and 80th Avenue in one of more than 200 collisions recorded in Edmonton over a 24-hour period. (CBC)

Traffic collisions continued to be up through the weekend and into the Monday morning commute following several days of continuous snowfall.

The snow, which began to fall on Thursday night, prompted the city to invoke a winter parking ban, the third of the season. 

With between 15 and 20 centimetres of snow accumulating between Thursday night and Friday morning alone, commuters continued to face messy roads across the city this weekend.

Police were called to 209 collisions within a 24-hour period spanning from midnight Saturday through to midnight Sunday. An additional 19 collisions involving injuries and 55 hit-and-runs were also reported during that time. 

This morning's commute saw 31 more collisions being reported on city streets, up from the 28 reported during Friday morning's rush hour.

This marks a nearly fourfold increase from typical daily response numbers, said police spokeswoman Leila Daoud on Friday.

"It is a lot more collisions than we are used to," said Daoud. "Typically, the Edmonton Police Service responds to between 50 and 70 collisions a day."

"I think the weather does play a factor in all of this," said Daoud. "I think that with the amount of snowfall we've had in the last 24 hours, that it is significantly impacting road conditions."

But the snow wasn't the only factor inflating collision rates.

"Even with [Thursday's] snowy conditions, they recorded 154 speed violations," said Bob Dunford, director of roadway maintenance. "[That] really doesn’t speak well for the kind of conditions we were faced with."

A winter parking ban was put into effect Friday morning as plows hit the city streets in force.

City bylaw officers had issued 357 tickets as of  4:30 p.m. Friday. Of those, at least 17 vehicles were towed.

Parking enforcement coordinator Erin Blaine said this is an improvement from the last parking ban.

She said Edmonton drivers are becoming familiar with the seasonal bans, aided by the city’s ongoing efforts to spread the word.

"There’s no excuse for not knowing,"  said Blaine.

Edmontonians react to ban

Keith Tiedemann disagrees. He received a $50 ticket on Friday while parked in front of the Venta Care Centre located at 102nd  Street and 135th Avenue.

"I had no idea they were going to start ticketing today," said Tiedemann.

"My wife is here in long-term care and I come to see her every day," he said. "You got to park somewhere — and I’m certainly not bothering anyone here."

"There are no other options for parking here."

Although he is not planning on fighting the ticket, Tiedemann says he doesn’t think it was fair.

"I’m a veteran living on my pension, and looking after my wife at the same time. Of course it’s going to hurt."

Tiedemann said signage should be more obvious in areas where bylaw officers will be ticketing.

Briana Strachan agrees.

She avoided a ticket, but only because she was warned by a bylaw officer to move her car from her usual street-side parking spot.

"They do need to announce it more," said Strachan, who also suggested distance between parking ban signs should be reduced to make restricted areas more noticeable.

The ticket for violating the winter parking ban is currently $50. Vehicle towing costs considerably more, with total cost starting around $200.

The winter parking ban was lifted Sunday evening at 7 p.m.