Parking ban done but sidewalks still snowed under

Winnipeg's residential parking ban is now over, after frustrating many people and creating criticism of the city.
Jesse Turner often has to use the street to get around because the sidewalks still haven't been plowed. (CBC)

Winnipeg's residential parking ban is now over, after frustrating many people and creating criticism of the city.

The ban ended at 7:01 a.m. CT Thursday.

"The city of Winnipeg thanks people for their patience and cooperation as the new snow clearing and parking ban were used for the first time," states a news release from the city.

Some sidewalks in Winnipeg are nearly impassable for people with disabilities. (CBC)

Winnipeg used to have citywide overnight parking bans, but now the city is divided into snow zones, with each zone specifically being targeted for a 12-hour span.

If a vehicle is parked in a zone being plowed, it will get towed to a nearby street that has already been plowed or is out of the active zone.

People whose vehicles are towed are also supposed to get a $150 ticket, but officials said earlier this week that they would not ticket drivers for now, given public confusion over the new system.

Many homeowners were left scrambling to figure out their zone, or running to avoid getting their vehicles towed from their streets.

Tow truck drivers said they were being greeted by flustered drivers who had no notice that plows were coming to their streets.

And some restaurant owners, who border residential areas, said the ban hurt their business because customers were worried about parking on the nearby streets.

1,850 vehicles towed

Ken Boyd, the city's manager of streets maintenance, told reporters on Thursday that a total of 1,850 vehicles were towed for being parked in zones that were being plowed this week.

Boyd said it's too early to say how much it'll cost the city to cover the costs associated with towing the vehicles.

The new parking ban system will remain as is for the rest of this season, as it would be too difficult to implement any changes now, Boyd said.

At the same time, he said the city would be open to revisions for next year.

Boyd said the expected cost of snow plowing this year will be around $3 million.

Sidewalks need clearing

While the roadways are cleared, disabled people say some sidewalks are almost impassable.

Since last weekend's major snow storm, Jesse Turner has hardly been able to leave home in her wheelchair.

She's had to use the street around her home to get around because the sidewalks still haven't been plowed.

"Perhaps they could collect more information as to exactly where disabled people live or where the majority of us live and then make those sidewalks a greater priority," she said.

Even when they are clear, the problems aren't always addressed.

"There are times when … they're not plowed well enough, so I'll still end up getting stuck," Turner said.

The city says only 15 per cent of sidewalks have yet to be cleared.

But on Roslyn Road, where Turner lives, most are still covered in snow.

Nick Ternette, who is with the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities, said the city doesn't care about people in wheelchairs.

"They don't pay any attention to us," he said.

Ternette was once hit by a car after being forced on to the street because of snow-covered sidewalks.