Colder temperatures and snow are moving in, so the City of Winnipeg is reminding people to "know your zone" for winter parking bans.

For the purpose of snow clearing, the street system has been classified in three categories (PI, P2, P3).

  • P1 – All regional streets and some streets around the Health Sciences Centre to facilitate ambulance access to the hospital
  • P2 – Non-regional bus routes and collector streets based on traffic counts and higher traffic streets in industrial areas
  • P3 – Residential and/or low traffic industrial streets

All P3 residential streets have been assigned to a snow zone, identified by a letter of the alphabet. People who live on a P3 are reminded to know their zone to avoid having their vehicle towed when the street is being plowed.

Zones will be plowed in 12-hour shifts

  • Day shift - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Night shift - 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Know your zone

Jim Berezowsky, manager of the city’s streets maintenance division, announces the Know Your Zone program for the 2013-2014 winter. (Chris Glover/CBC)

** Check the City of Winnipeg's website or call 311 to find your zone. You can also register on the city website to get email and Twitter notifications.

“The Know Your Zone system is aimed at improving snow clearing on residential streets, and by knowing their zone letter and when their zone is scheduled for snow clearing, residents can easily observe the 12-hour parking ban for their zone,” said Jim Berezowsky, manager of the streets maintenance division.

The city said it expects residential plowing operations to be completed in five shifts.

Vehicles parked in violation of the residential parking ban will receive a $150 ticket ($75 if paid early), and could be towed to a nearby street not scheduled to be plowed or has already been cleared.

Know Your Zone was introduced in 2011 and there was a lot of confusion and criticism from the public. The city said snow plow and truck drivers have received more training on how the new system is supposed to work. It's also hoped this year residents also better understand the plan and know when their vehicles need to be off the road.

But Winnipeg realtor Sheila Brown said knowing your zone is pointless when you need to go anywhere else in the city, as she often she does as she travels to homes throughout the city.

“Sometimes I just go on the spur of the moment, so I’m not thinking of what zones there are!” she said.

But city officials say Winnipeggers are just going to have to become good planners and start calling 311 or checking online for what zone they’ll be parking in.

“First and foremost, every citizen is responsible to know their zone,” said Jim Berezowsky, the city’s manager of street maintenance.

Last year, some Winnipeggers learned the hard way that knowing their zone wasn’t enough. Several streets were plowed on the wrong day, leaving residents to find their cars after they had been towed to nearby streets.

According to officials, operators have been coached to respect the zones and only operate in the designated times.

Those times are cutting into city businesses’ bottom lines, though.

Stuart Deacon owns Saucer’s Café on Academy Road.

“If a whole area is being done at one time, there’s nowhere in the area to find parking!” he said. “You’re driving around for 10 to 15 minutes.”

He added the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shifts land right in the middle of the dinner rush.

City officials are sticking with the plan though, despite the fact it’s catching on at a glacial pace.

Parking ban info

There are two key winter parking bans that Winnipeggers need to know about:

  • Annual snow route parking ban

Goes into effect from Dec. 1 until March 1 annually on streets designated as Snow Routes. This parking ban is in place nightly between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., and vehicles parked in violation of the ban may get a $100 ticket ($50 if paid early).

  • Residential parking ban

Declared only when snow accumulations warrant the clearing of residential streets. When declared, the ban applies in 12-hour shifts, day and night, to designated snow zones across the city until clearing of residential streets is complete.

When a residential plowing operation is announced, the public will be able to access the residential snow clearing schedule daily. The schedule will indicate the snow zones that are scheduled for clearing and the parking ban that is currently in effect, along with which snow zones will be plowed for the next 12-hour shift. This information will also be displayed on a map showing those residential streets where the ban applies for the current and next shift.

Vehicles parked in violation of this ban may receive a $150 ticket ($75 if paid early). If a vehicle is towed, residents may call 311 to find the vehicle's location.