Earlier this week, I had the privilege to drive around Stittsville with the Roads Services Area Manager to evaluate snow removal services in our ward.
As residents are certain to have noticed, roads have recently been in an icy state. This is a problem that is being faced all across the City and not just in Stittsville. This is caused by the drastic melting and freezing cycle we have been encountering the past few weeks in addition the large amounts of snowfall this winter season. As of writing this, the City has already experienced well over 170 cm of snow in a very short timeframe (most winters receive an approximate 240 cm of snow overall per season).
As staff pointed out to me, part of the reasoning for why streets are looking the way they are is that due to the sporadic melt/freeze cycle, plow beats clearing residential streets have not had the opportunity to do the finesse work they usually perform after a winter storm before the snow has had an opportunity to freeze.
Another debilitating factor is that when cars are parked on the street during snow removal, plow beats are unable to perform a curb to curb clearing. Depending on the timing of the snowfall (ie: snow continues falling late into the evening), sometimes two passes are not always able to be completed during an overnight parking ban and must be completed the next day. While not enforceable by City By-laws, I would recommend that residents be considerate to avoid parking on the street when possible during snow fall periods to ensure the best possible job is done.
As per the City of Ottawa’s Maintenance Quality Standards for Roads, Sidewalks, and Pathways which I have previously outlined in my newsletter here, priority is first given to clearing Arterial and Collector roads as they are used more frequently by more drivers. This usually takes approximately 2-6 hours after snow has finished accumulation. Residential roads receive service next between 10-16 hours after final accumulation. For a map of Stittsville’s road classification, please click here.
While some residents may feel that this is unsatisfactory, unfortunately, the reality is that Ottawa is a vast network of a variety of roads and the City needs to abide by these standards to maximize the resources available. For example, something as basic as salt is often a large expense and as such is usually only implemented on the second pass of a plow to avoid plowing the salt away with the snow.
Overall, it was an insightful trip travelling with City staff to look at addressing resident concerns, especially in the newer developments and newer developing communities.
In newer developments, such as Blackstone, Poole Creek, or Fairwinds, the developer is responsible for snow removal until the first resident moves onto the street and the City is informed of occupancy. When the street is completed, including the connecting sidewalks, the City will also plow the sidewalk. Issues with this occur when a street may be mostly completed without the final sidewalk as plows can dig up the unpaved portion causing gravel and stones to be unearthed.
I would like to thank all residents who took the time to contact our office with their snow removal concerns this holiday season. We did try to get through as many of those areas as possible and working with staff, I will work to ensure improvement on snow removal service in Stittsville based on these concerns.
Please continue to let my office know about any problem areas but please be advised that the best way of registering a complaint and request for follow-up is to direct your concerns to 3-1-1 directly either by phoning 3-1-1 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.