The City of Toronto has declared a major snow storm condition in Toronto in response to the heavy and disruptive snowfall that occurred today, receiving five centimetres an hour at its peak.
In most cases, snow events can be managed within the existing road allowance through the City’s normal winter maintenance operations. However, the City has the authority to declare a major snow storm condition when the city receives significantly large amounts of snow during a relatively short period of time.
Under Municipal Code Chapter 950-406, the Mayor or the General Manager, Transportation Services, may declare that a major snow storm condition exists on any highway or portion of highway when at least five centimetres of snow has fallen, when snow is required to be removed to allow for the proper movement of vehicles and when the clearing of snow is impeded by traffic and parking.
When a major snow storm condition is declared, parking on roads designated as snow routes is prohibited for a period of 72 hours. This will allow for the snow removal of windrows left by the City’s snow plows, which can restrict traffic flow, interfere with pedestrians and parking and obstruct sightlines. Under this declaration, the City will collect the snow and remove to designated snow storage sites. Snow removal operations will commence as soon as planned plowing operations conclude later this week.
The declaration may be cancelled sooner than 72 hours or it may be extended longer than 72 hours depending on how much snow needs to be removed. At this time, the City anticipates it will likely be extended.
Designated snow routes are primarily located in the downtown core and include all streetcar routes. All snow routes are clearly signed. Parking on a designated snow route during a major snow event is subject to a fine of up to $200.
Police, fire and ambulance services rely on clear roads to respond quickly to emergencies. The City’s Transportation Services division is responsible for moving vehicles that delay crews or hinder snow-clearing operations, even when a major snow storm condition has not been declared or when a vehicle is legally parked. In such instances, vehicles are usually towed to an adjacent street. Residents should call the Toronto Police Service at 416-808-2222 to locate a vehicle that has been towed from a major arterial roadway. Illegally parked vehicles may be tagged, towed and impounded.
Residents are encouraged to stay home during and after this snowfall. Road users should expect delays, slippery conditions and poor visibility. If driving, slow down, follow at a safe distance, and use gentle braking, steering and acceleration. Road users should also keep a safe distance from snow clearing vehicles, be patient and give City crews room to make our roads and sidewalks safe and accessible.
Toronto has a comprehensive snow and ice response plan that prioritizes the safety and movement of residents above all else. More information is available at toronto.ca/Snow.
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