While snow in Vancouver may still be hard to fathom for some, especially after the stretch of sunshine the city received this fall, officials said on Wednesday they are preparing for winter and encouraging residents to do the same.
“At the city, we operate 24 hours a day,” said Jerry Dobrovolny, the city’s GM of engineering services. “When it snows, our priority is ensuring main arterials and bus routes are kept clear, to keep streets safe for all users.”
In a release, the city said it works with a meteorologist “for tailored Vancouver-specific weather predictions.”
And when it comes to snow, there is a “comprehensive snow response plan” built into operational procedures.
“When snow or freezing temperatures are predicted, the city ensures that arterial streets are salted, brined, or plowed depending on the conditions,” the city said.
In 2017, the city also expanded coverage locations, increased salt availability, and developed a three-tiered service response time system. As such, its priority locations for snow and ice removal are:
- Major roads
- Bus routes
- Emergency access routes (including five major hospitals and two health care facilities)
- School routes
- 15 most-used bike routes
- Sidewalks around schools and hospitals
- Bus stops
- Arterial corner ramps
The city said it also works closely with Vancouver Park Board to ensure their operations teams are coordinated and supported.
“This year, many of our John Deere mowers will be equipped with snow brushes and salt spreaders so our staff can easily remove snow from sidewalks, paths, the seawall, and parking lots,” said Director of Parks, Howard Normann. “We’re committed to clearing snow and ice in a timely manner with a focus on priority areas such as community centres and destination parks.”
Dealing with winter yourself
While the city is preparing its winter battle plan, it also provided a list of tips and tricks to help residents avoid issues and/or deal with problems quicker once the snow starts flying.
Some of these include:
- Be prepared: Make sure you have shovels, snow boots, snow tires, and salt before the first big snowfall.
- Knowing your obligations: All property owners and occupants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10 am the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week. Failure to remove snow and ice may result in fines.
- Getting winter tires: If you drive through the winter, consider getting tires with the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol or the mud and snow symbol, with at least 3.5 mm tread. The Province of BC requires these tires on provincial highways.
- Moving your car: City crews plow major roads and bus routes. By moving your car to a side street or garage when snow is predicted or after it snows, city crews can better clear arterials for all users.
- Avoiding driving if you can: Check transit schedules for commuting alternatives.
- Winter tires required on BC mountain highways starting this Monday
- Vancouver's new snow tubing park is offering FREE rides on opening night
- Taller than Rockefeller: Vancouver's official Christmas Tree lights up this month