On the first day of summer, Regina City Hall is talking about snow, moving one step closer to introducing parking bans on snow routes.
On Monday, the Infrastructure and Public Works Committee passed a motion to approve a proposal to introduce a three-year pilot project to tow away vehicles parked on major snow routes during a snowstorm. The proposal still has to go before city council for a debate and vote.
Chris Warren is the manager of winter maintenance for the City of Regina. He explained that they did a lot of research on how other cities handle snow routes and got a lot of feedback from residents through public consultations, open houses and surveys.
“Some of the feedback we received was that if there is going to be a snow route parking ban – which there was a good deal of favour for – that we would try to limit the amount of time that the parking ban might take place,” he said.
Proper public notice and communication was also raised as a major step toward making the program successful. The city is looking at a combination of signage, public service announcements, social media messages and using the city’s new app to send push notices to people living or working on the major streets.
Warren said a user-pay system was also raised by the public during consultations.
“During a snowstorm if we do have to tow parked vehicles, that the offending vehicle (owners) would be responsible to pay for that and that it wouldn’t be subsidized by the city,” he explained.
The idea of the pilot project is to gradually phase in the parking bans starting with a six-kilometre cross section of category one and two arterial and collector roads to get the public used to the idea. Then over three years, the city would tweak the program and expand it.
The city committee also passed a motion to amend the proposal to look at eventually expanding parking bans to residential streets ahead of a systematic plow. Under the snow removal policy, residential streets are only plowed after a single snowfall of 25 centimetres or more, or after the snow pack or ruts on a street reach a depth of 10 cm. The amendment was based on a citizen survey that found 88 per cent of residents were in favour of expanding snow routes to include residential streets.
Some details of the program still need to be worked out, including the estimated cost of communications, the design of signs and whether the city would need to expand parking enforcement.
Now the snow route proposal can move into the next phase to be put forward to city council. If it is passed by city council, the earliest plan to start notifying the public and towing vehicles from snow routes would be 2017.