Over a year ago I did a post about umbrella etiquette and I think it’s time to share some information, laws, and common courtesies regarding snowy conditions in our fair city.
Last night we witnessed about 3 accidents in the alley behind our house as it is not sanded or plowed. Alleys aren’t really a priority for the city so I can understand this, however if you’re driving around town and see a back lane, covered in ice, and on a incline the first thing that pops into your head should be, “how about I take another route”.
City Priorities for Clearing
The City of Vancouver first focuses its efforts to control snow and ice on the arterial streets, transit routes, and major collector streets. These are designated ‘Snow Emergency Routes’ and are treated immediately after a snowfall. Sufficient equipment is available to treat all such routes within a few hours under usual snowfall conditions.
Bridge decks are very susceptible to icing. These are also given top priority by the snow and ice control personnel for patrolling, salting and sanding.
3) Residential hills and designated bicycle routes (that is, integrated routes on city streets, rather than strictly recreational routes such as along the waterfront) are also considered a high priority. Every attempt is made to treat them on the first day.
4) Frost and snow on steep streets
In some cases, steep streets such as Oak from Broadway to 6th. Avenue will be barricaded off to prevent cars from attempting to drive on the hills.
Sidewalks are not cleared by City staff, except on bridges, pedestrian underpasses and overpasses, public access walks and stairs, and in bus stop landing areas.
6) City-owned parking lots
Some City-owned parking lots may be cleared by City staff, but this work receives the lowest priority.
Vancouver has many awnings and we’re very prepared for rain and the need cover. As such, snow has been building up on these slopes that hang above the sidewalks. I saw someone get showered by a sheet of snow that fell off an awning. Business owners, please head out there if you can, grab a broom, and pull down those snow sheets before someone gets hurt – same goes for icicles.
Finally, sidewalks. As the city states, they’re only cleared by their staff when they’re on public property. If you have a sidewalk or path in front of your home you are responsible for clearing it.
Vancouver property owners are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the sidewalks that surround their property by 10 a.m.
The City’s snow removal by-law applies to all property owners in the city except one- and two-family residences outside the downtown peninsula — south of Burrard Inlet, north of Terminal Avenue, False Creek and English Bay, west of Main Street, and east of Stanley Park.
Property owners who fail to remove snow and ice as required by the by-law may be subject to a fine of up to $2,000, or the City can have the snow removed and bill the owner for the cost. [City of Vancouver]
As the sun is coming out to shine over us (with only 4 shopping days left) things will melt and also freeze up again at night. Travel safe, walk and drive slowly, and avoid slippery icy patches whenever you can. It also helps to be a good neighbour and clear off the walk for someone who might not be able to get out and do so themselves.
Update: Suggestions and more helpful tips from Twitter – @JenniferPriest “Also, clean snow off the top of the car. Rather blinding as it goes flying at the driver behind.”