City snow crews working 'as quickly as we can' to clear Winnipeg streets

Winnipeg's snow clearing efforts are moving onto residential streets and the city is urging people to move their vehicles.

'This is a call to action. We're cleaning up Winnipeg and we need Winnipeggers to help us'

Winnipeg's snow clearing crews are out in full force. (CBC)

Winnipeg's snow clearing efforts are moving onto residential streets and the city is urging people to move their vehicles.

"This is a call to action. We're cleaning up Winnipeg and we need Winnipeggers to help us by moving their cars when their zone is scheduled," said public works spokesman Ken Allen.

"If you come to a street and there's 10 or 20 cars parked there, it's very difficult to tow them all before the plows go by. We really are counting on people to move their vehicles."

More than 400 pieces of heavy equipment and the crews operating them have been working around the clock since Monday's storm. The main routes are 100 per cent complete while bus routes and collector streets are 90 per cent done and will be finished by 7 p.m. this evening, Allen said.

The City of Winnipeg has declared a residential parking ban as snow clearing crews work to clean up after Monday's storm. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

As well, back lanes are about 35 per cent complete as of Wednesday morning.

"It's progressing well but there's still a fair percentage to go," Allen said. "If you haven't seen a loader in your back lane yet, they're coming. The ones we do first are the ones where garbage pickup is scheduled."

Every effort is made to get loaders through the lanes ahead of garbage trucks but it's not always possible, he said.

"Because of the heavy accumulation of snow, the progress is maybe not going as quickly as we'd like."

As a result, some city services continue to experience delays and interruptions, including garbage and recycling collection.

Homeowners are asked to leave their carts out until 10 p.m. on collection days and if the materials haven't been hauled away by then to take in their carts — so snow crews can get by — and put them out again the next morning before 7 a.m.

Sidewalks on main routes and active transportation routes are 60 per cent complete while those in residential areas will be targeted after that.

"We're really only a couple of days [since the storm] and after a big snowfall like that, it does take some time to get everything opened up and passable, Allen said.

"It's important for people to be patient. We apologize for any inconvenience but certainly, we're working as quickly as we can."

The city has declared a residential parking ban, which kicks in this evening at 7 p.m., to allow crews to plow streets.

That means parking on neighbourhood streets scheduled for clearing could net drivers $150 tickets ($75 if paid early). Vehicles may also be towed to a nearby side street that isn't impacted by the ban.

If tow trucks can't get to vehicles before plows come through, crews will go around, leaving ridges and a road that won't be as smooth as it could have been.

"Snow clearing is one of the things that Winnipeg does very well. In fact, we're known across the country as being leaders in snow clearing," Allen said, but stressed the work is only as efficient as people allow.

"If people move their cars, we can do a complete job, curb to curb," he said. "Please give the equipment a bit of room to get the work done."

Vehicle owners can find their neighbourhood snow clearing schedule by using the city's address lookup tool, checking the Know Your Zone website or by calling (311) or emailing the city at 311@winnipeg.ca for more information.

The city has also created a Know Your Zone mobile app, which can answer all of those questions, and even tell you which zone you are currently in, based on GPS.

The residential street clearing will continue until Saturday. The schedule is as follows:

  • Dec. 28 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Dec 29

Zones D, G, H, P, R, V

  • Dec. 29 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Zones C, F, I, K, N, S, U

  • Dec. 29 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Dec. 30

Zones B, J, L, M, O, Q, T

  • Dec. 30 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Zone A

  • Dec. 30 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Dec. 31

Zone E