The City of Toronto has now removed more than 45,000 tonnes of snow from roads, sidewalks and bike lanes across the city to ensure safety and accessibility. This is the largest snow removal operation in the City’s history and 24/7 work has been ongoing this week with a focus on addressing sidewalks and local roads.
Today, Transportation Services General Manager Barbara Gray provided an update on the snow removal operations and the work being done to maximize efforts on priority areas including sidewalks, local roads and school zones. Gray thanked residents for their ongoing patience as this city-wide snow removal operation continues.
Work to remove the snow began on January 20 after City crews concluded plowing and salting operations in response to last week’s major snow storm that delivered 55 cm of snow in 15 hours. Snow removal efforts over the first several days focused on ensuring emergency vehicles were able to safely navigate roadways.
While snow removal operations on sidewalks and bike lanes have been continuing successfully in tandem with arterial and local roads, the City has been intensifying its snow removal operations on sidewalks as much as possible.
The sidewalks have been adversely impacted by the sheer amounts of snow and cold weather, often leaving ice blocks that take time to clear. In many cases, traditional sidewalk plowing becomes less effective requiring crews to perform multiple rounds of plowing, use snow blower attachments or engage in snow removal by hand.
Transportation Services has been moving contractors and staff around the city to assist in addressing sidewalk issues in hot spot areas. More than 40 staff have been redeployed within Transportation Services to perform site checks on sidewalks. The City is continuing to do everything it can to complete this work as quickly as possible.
To date, the City has:
The City expects to remove at least another 40,000 tonnes over the next seven days of 24/7 snow removal operations, which is equivalent to an additional 13,500 loads of snow.
On January 17, Toronto received more snow than it has received in the month of January for the past two decades combined, save for two years. It is also more snow than the totals in January, February and March 2021 combined.
Heavy and disruptive snowfall, such as the January 17 major snow storm, poses more challenges for City crews than a typical winter storm. These include:
Snow removal operations involve dozens of crews using front end-loaders and dump trucks that collect and remove the snow.
Crews are continuing to make every effort to respond to and resolve all snow-related 311 service requests. New service requests for snow-related issues can be made on the 311 Toronto mobile app, on the City’s website at Toronto.ca/311 or by calling 311.
City crews are doing “friendly tows” of legally parked vehicles where necessary to make room for snow removal crews and equipment. Vehicles will be towed to a nearby location at no cost to the owner. So far, crews have found the vast majority of residents have come out to help support snow removal efforts by moving their cars ahead of arrival or as they arrive on scene. To date, the City has had to undertake 190 “friendly tows” of vehicles.
The City offers a sidewalk clearing service for seniors and people with a disability who live in any area where sidewalks cannot be plowed. More information is available on the City’s Snow Clearing webpage.
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.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.