Ice lines the streets, adding to the cold reality that winter is finally here and making way for the mounds of snow that will soon take over.
Travis Rob, operations and facilities manager, said they are getting ready for the snowfall like every other year, but there is one major difference; that is the new street parking ban.
Cars will be banned from parking on the street during major snowfalls from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. In February, council approved the recommendation made by Rob to amend the town’s Traffic Control Bylaw to include a provision banning on-street parking in town for the duration of significant weather events.
According to Rob, this will help facilitate the snow removal crews moving efficiently through town.
“Being able to get through town as quickly as possible with our crews is in everyone’s best interest,” Rob said.
The parking ban will be in effect across town with the exception of the downtown core which already has its own street parking restrictions. Rob adds that they try to tackle the downtown area in the evenings and overnight because it is relatively busy during the day.
Rob said residents will be notified about major weather events on social media and the radio.
Large snowfall is a hassle for everyone and for residents wondering why their street is plowed last, Rob said it is because each roadway is classified based on traffic volumes. This is outlined by Ontario’s Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways which outlines their responsibilities in terms of maintenance of the highways.
Each roadway is ranked based on priority and Rob said Fort Frances has classes four, five and six roadways. Different roadway classes dictate their priority and which roadways have to be plowed first. For the higher class roadways, there is a shorter time period for snow removal from the road.
Rob said they prioritize higher class roadways but they do look to clear the roads around health establishments such as the hospitals and clinics and also schools, regardless of their road’s classification.
“Once we get these priority roads done, then we work our way across town,” Rob said.
In the event of a heavy snowfall, Rob said they have a fleet of vehicles that are deployed and this also means longer hours for those plowing the snow.
Rob said they usually run all winter long in two shifts, a day shift and a night shift, but when those snow storms hit they run the day shift longer and start the night shift earlier, adding that they are “basically out on the roads plowing 24 hours a day.”
Rob said he wants residents to know that they are doing what they can to maintain the roads. He adds that the large quantities of snow pose a risk to roadways and by not having cars on the street they can clear the roads more effectively and keep everyone safe.
Council will review the parking ban provision in the spring, when winter has passed to determine its effectiveness and how they are going to approach it next winter.