Winter weather can cause lots of headaches on Edmonton roads, and the city is hoping to get ahead of problems. However, with a tighter budget, some of the issues we saw last year may return.
The city has allocated about $64 million for snow clearing and it doesn’t address all the issues we saw in the past, like having more equipment than operators. Right now, the city said it will have enough staff to operate 65 per cent of its equipment.
“The budget does increase year over year, so every year there is going to be additions that we will be able to provide and put on the road for Edmontonians,” said Craig McKeown with the City of Edmonton.
The roads are split up into priority sections, with freeways, arterial roads and business districts falling under Priority 1.
Residential streets are Priority 4, and could wait up to 10 days after snowfall before they gets plowed. But the city is hoping to put more attention on these roads by grooming in between parking bans.
“Hopefully we will be able to have equipment out there more often, providing a better service even outside of those parking ban times,” said Val Dacyk with the City of Edmonton.
The city has improved its roadway clearing map, which will now show where plows are in real time. The plan is to take that to council to show what can realistically be done with the resources available.
“The technology with the GPS that we have in our vehicles will show council and Edmonton what we are able to provide,” McKeown said.
One change is good news for cyclists. Crews will update routes for what active pathways are cleared within 24 hours, making a “ring road” in the city’s core.
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Bike Edmonton’s Greg Glatz said it’s a good move.
“There are also routes that allow people to get from one section of the city to another section of the city. For people who are commuting, they need to go through a couple neighbourhoods at least,” he said.
“Every time you see someone on a cleared bike lane, they are not sitting in a car making your traffic worse.”
First snowfall of the season leads to slick morning commute in Edmonton
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