The city’s storm cleanup efforts are expected to “ramp up considerably” this weekend as crews begin to haul away snow from some local roads.
Toronto took the relatively unusual step of declaring a ‘major snow storm condition’ after it was hit by a major storm that dumped up to 55 centimetres on some part of the city throughout the day on Monday.
The declaration allows the city to prohibit parking on roads designated as snow routes so that it can safely haul away snow.
That work began on Wednesday and is expected to continue “24/7” for at least “several more days,” Transportation Services General Manager Barbara Gray told reporters on Friday afternoon.
Gray said that the snow removal efforts have already been completed along the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway and are continuing on several major arterial roads, including Allen Road, Richmond Street, St. Clair Avenue, Eglinton Avenue, Islington Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard.
She said that this weekend the focus will shift to local roads with crews slated to pay particular attention to routes where emergency vehicle access has become an issue.
“As you can see it is a very big operation and we still have several days of work,” she said. “We can mover faster if we have fewer cars on the streets to deal with in terms of moving them. So thank you so much to everybody who has gone out and moved their car from a snow route. It has helped us to move faster and on the local roads that we are going to visit over the next few days we would just ask for the same.”
City officials have said that they have only had to conduct a few so-called “friendly tows” since Wednesday, in which legally parked vehicles are removed because they are blocking a snow route.
Gray, however, said that the work will “ramp up considerably” this weekend when hundreds of dump trucks will be used to haul to snow to one of five drop-off sites.
“In most cases snow could be managed within the existing roadway allowance. But when the city receives large amounts of snow like we have with this particular storm, it can limit access by emergency vehicles, restrict traffic flows, interfere with both pedestrians and parking and obstruct sightlines,” she said. “Our snow removal crews are prioritizing designated snow and streetcar routes, arterial roads and local roads and where necessary they are specifically focused on ensuring emergency vehicle access throughout our network.”