plowTO

Winter Tips

The winter weather has arrived and here’s what you need to know to be prepared!

Potholes

Snow, ice and freeze-thaw cycles can cause serious damage to our roadways.

To report potholes, phone 311, the city’s 24-hour service portal, or visit toronto.ca/311. Have the closest municipal address on hand – it helps pothole repair crews work efficiently.

Snow Clearing

Did you know that the city clears 5,604 km of roads each and every time it snows?

Expressways are cleared after 2.5 cm of accumulated snow and arterial roads after 5 cm. Local roads are cleared following the accumulation of 8 cm of snow.

If it’s been 18 hours since the end of a storm and your street has still not been ploughed, please call 311.

Icy sidewalks are a serious pedestrian safety hazard, particularly for our older neighbours and those with accessibility issues. So please be nice and clear your ice!

Senior city staff advised that contacting 311 is the fastest and most efficient way to report snow and ice issues. Each time you contact 311, your issue is recorded (with a service request number that can be tracked) and the request goes immediately to Transportation Services for investigation and follow up.

This year, the city also has a great new online tool where you can watch snow plows and salt trucks in real time! Be sure to check out toronto.ca/plowTO this winter!

New Online Tools: MyWaterToronto and PlowTO

As Chair of Public Works & Infrastructure, I’m pleased to share that the city has recently launched two exciting new online tools: MyWaterToronto and PlowTO.

Technology has become a constant in our daily routines and the city is jumping on board – we’re mobilizing start-of-the-art technology to improve customer service and save Torontonians time, money and resources.

With MyWaterToronto, residents can view their water use information anytime, anywhere via computer or mobile phone. The city’s new automated water meters send water consumption data directly to the city several times a day and effectively eliminate the need for property owners or city staff to take manual readings.  Right now MyWaterToronto is loaded with more than one billion water readings!

Because residents can track how much water they’re using, they can better understand their water use, identify potential leaks and consider ways to save both water and money.

On PlowTO’s webpage, thanks to GPS data, residents can see the real-time location of plows, sidewalk plows and salt trucks. This tool gives Torontonians a better sense of when and where the city’s fleet of service vehicles have traveled during and after a winter storm.

During my two terms in office, I’ve fielded a number of inquiries from residents about winter operations and high water bills. So far the feedback I’ve received on these new web-based tools has been overwhelmingly positive.

Harnessing technology to provide better and more transparent city services is clearly a big step in the right direction for Toronto.

Winter Operations Guide

As Chair of Public Works, I’m pleased to tell you that the city is prepared to tackle whatever winter throws at us. We have a great team and a great plan in place!

First and foremost, we’ve got a huge arsenal including 571 road plows, 329 sidewalk plows, 202 salt trucks and about 1,500 personnel.

There’s no doubt that snow clearing is a big operation – the city has 5,605 km of roads on 9,500 streets, along with 6,000 km of sidewalks and 262,000 driveways.

During a winter storm, the city’s priority is to clear expressways, collectors and main roads. It may take extra time to get out to the local streets.

Icy sidewalks are a serious pedestrian safety hazard, particularly for our older neighbours and those with accessibility issues. So please be nice and clear your ice!

Senior city staff advised that contacting 311, the city’s 24-hour service portal, after a storm is the fastest and most efficient way to report snow and ice issues. Each time you contact 311, your issue is recorded (with a service request number that can be tracked) and the request goes immediately to Transportation Services for investigation and follow up.

It’s also important to note that snow, ice and freeze-thaw cycles can cause serious damage to our roadways.

To report potholes, phone 311 or visit www.toronto.ca/311. Have the closest municipal address on hand – it helps pothole repair crews work efficiently.

As Chair of Public Works, I was pleased to show off the city’s arsenal of winter equipment!

As Chair of Public Works, I was pleased to show off the city’s arsenal of winter equipment!

Reminder: Winter Snow Clearing and Salting

Many of you have written to me with questions about sidewalk clearing. There are many streets where Transportation Services cannot physically clear the sidewalks: crews cannot plough sidewalks if they’re narrow, have obstructions or on-street parking.

On streets where the city provides sidewalk snow ploughing services, staff generally deploy clearing operations once five centimetres of snow has accumulated in January-February, and eight centimetres from March to April. Depending on the severity of the snowfall, staff sometimes complete two rounds of ploughing and de-icing. In between ploughing and salting operations, staff ask that property owners help out by ensuring the sidewalk in front of their home is safe for pedestrians. 

Icy sidewalks are a safety hazard for all pedestrians; however, they’re particularly dangerous and challenging for our older neighbours and those with accessibility issues. This winter I received calls from parents concerned about their children walking to school, seniors, residents with visual impairments and others that use wheelchairs. In short, please be nice and help to clear your ice!

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns about sidewalk clearing in your neighbourhood.