Snow Control and Street Sweeping

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The City of Lethbridge wants to hear about the public’s preferred Snow and Ice Control and Street Sweeping, programs and services. What do you think is the best way to prioritize snow and ice control on Lethbridge streets? What do you think is the best way to prioritize street sweeping in Lethbridge? Feedback you provide by responding to this survey will inform the completion of the City’s Service Level Review of the Snow and Ice Control and Street Sweeping programs. This review will be presented to Council in the spring of 2022 (?) to determine the service levels of the coming years’ Snow and Ice Control and Street Sweeping programs through the new annual operating budget process (2023-2026).

Snow, ice and other road debris on roadways, sidewalks and pathways are issues faced daily by everyone. In 2020, the City of Lethbridge hired KPMG to review the level of service we work to in the city when it comes to the ‘Snow and Ice Control program’ and ‘Street Sweeping program’. The intended outcome of this review is to make sure we are providing appropriate service while being fiscally responsible.

In Lethbridge, the intent of the Snow and Ice Control program is to:

  • Reduce the hazards of winter conditions for motorists and pedestrians;
  • Minimize economic loss to the community; and
  • Facilitate the operation of Transit and Emergency Service vehicles.
  • Additionally, it aims to create acceptable winter driving conditions for vehicles that are properly equipped for winter driving and are operated in a manner consistent with good winter driving habits.

However, in Lethbridge, snow clearing coverage and response time appears to differ from the practices seen in other cities. Because of this, the City is looking to re-consider the service levels of its snow and ice clearing methodologies - snow plowing and snow removal.

Currently, on snow plowing routes, snow is plowed to the side of the road. Plowing occurs primarily on major roadways like Whoop Up Drive, Mayor Magrath Drive, University Drive and Scenic Drive, focusing on priority streets. Conversely, on snow removal routes in residential areas, snow is plowed to the middle of the road, into windrows, so that we do not block residential driveways with plowed snow. Windrowed snow is eventually blown into trucks and hauled to a designated snow storage facility approved by Alberta Environment. This process is significantly slower and more resource dependent than snow plowing.

Possible changes to the Snow and Ice Control program, dependent on public engagement and City Council decision, include the following:

  • Increasing the number of roads plowed (all roads except local roads less then 10 meters wide, these cannot physically be plowed so must be cleared by snow removal and only in emergency situations), and subsequently modifying snow removal;
  • This service change has the potential to significantly improve service levels for cleaner roads quicker, however it has a disadvantage of blocking driveways with snow that must be cleared by residential property owners, because the snow is not removed. City crews would not empty driveways so there is a higher risk of blocked drainage, property damage, parking impacts, and property access (view the video to the right to see an example of what this way of clearing could look like). Snow would only be removed from downtown, select streets, and the hospital and/or schools;
  • Other changes could involve a modification in snow removal route enforcement by increasing it, or removing it all together. Currently, snow routes aren’t always declared – if we do more plowing it will increase the declared snow routes.

For the Street Sweeping programs, services run in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Once winter is essentially complete in late March/early April and the spring months arrive, the City works to clean the road surface of sand and dirt to enhance resident and visitor safety, enhance city cleanliness, and improve the environment through preventing street dirt and chemicals entering the storm water system and river. The City has already undergone service adjustments approved by council in 2020 for this program, with a $285,000 (18 per cent) reduction of the total street sweeping budget. However, the City is now looking to evaluate alternative street sweeping options.

These options include the following:

  • Changing the current Spring Sweeping program by:
    1. Focusing on priority 1-3 roads where more sand and salt was applied during the winter months and reduce the sweeping frequency in residential neighborhoods;
    2. Rotating the sweeping of residential areas (i.e. Priority 4 routes) and only sweeping each road every other year;
    3. Or, by sweeping every street at least once a year.
  • Changing the Fall Sweeping program by implementing digital communications, implementing street signage, and/or implementing ticketing;
  • Discontinuing the Fall Sweeping program. The elimination of the Fall Sweeping program may have detrimental effects on our storm drainage system as leaves tend to block storm sewers and this is one of the primary reasons for the Fall Sweeping program but there are economic benefits;
  • Changing the frequency of the Downtown, Industrial and Arterial Sweeping programs to either increase or reduce the frequency of sweeping.

The City of Lethbridge wants to hear about the public’s preferred Snow and Ice Control and Street Sweeping, programs and services. What do you think is the best way to prioritize snow and ice control on Lethbridge streets? What do you think is the best way to prioritize street sweeping in Lethbridge? Feedback you provide by responding to this survey will inform the completion of the City’s Service Level Review of the Snow and Ice Control and Street Sweeping programs. This review will be presented to Council in the spring of 2022 (?) to determine the service levels of the coming years’ Snow and Ice Control and Street Sweeping programs through the new annual operating budget process (2023-2026).

Snow, ice and other road debris on roadways, sidewalks and pathways are issues faced daily by everyone. In 2020, the City of Lethbridge hired KPMG to review the level of service we work to in the city when it comes to the ‘Snow and Ice Control program’ and ‘Street Sweeping program’. The intended outcome of this review is to make sure we are providing appropriate service while being fiscally responsible.

In Lethbridge, the intent of the Snow and Ice Control program is to:

  • Reduce the hazards of winter conditions for motorists and pedestrians;
  • Minimize economic loss to the community; and
  • Facilitate the operation of Transit and Emergency Service vehicles.
  • Additionally, it aims to create acceptable winter driving conditions for vehicles that are properly equipped for winter driving and are operated in a manner consistent with good winter driving habits.

However, in Lethbridge, snow clearing coverage and response time appears to differ from the practices seen in other cities. Because of this, the City is looking to re-consider the service levels of its snow and ice clearing methodologies - snow plowing and snow removal.

Currently, on snow plowing routes, snow is plowed to the side of the road. Plowing occurs primarily on major roadways like Whoop Up Drive, Mayor Magrath Drive, University Drive and Scenic Drive, focusing on priority streets. Conversely, on snow removal routes in residential areas, snow is plowed to the middle of the road, into windrows, so that we do not block residential driveways with plowed snow. Windrowed snow is eventually blown into trucks and hauled to a designated snow storage facility approved by Alberta Environment. This process is significantly slower and more resource dependent than snow plowing.

Possible changes to the Snow and Ice Control program, dependent on public engagement and City Council decision, include the following:

  • Increasing the number of roads plowed (all roads except local roads less then 10 meters wide, these cannot physically be plowed so must be cleared by snow removal and only in emergency situations), and subsequently modifying snow removal;
  • This service change has the potential to significantly improve service levels for cleaner roads quicker, however it has a disadvantage of blocking driveways with snow that must be cleared by residential property owners, because the snow is not removed. City crews would not empty driveways so there is a higher risk of blocked drainage, property damage, parking impacts, and property access (view the video to the right to see an example of what this way of clearing could look like). Snow would only be removed from downtown, select streets, and the hospital and/or schools;
  • Other changes could involve a modification in snow removal route enforcement by increasing it, or removing it all together. Currently, snow routes aren’t always declared – if we do more plowing it will increase the declared snow routes.

For the Street Sweeping programs, services run in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Once winter is essentially complete in late March/early April and the spring months arrive, the City works to clean the road surface of sand and dirt to enhance resident and visitor safety, enhance city cleanliness, and improve the environment through preventing street dirt and chemicals entering the storm water system and river. The City has already undergone service adjustments approved by council in 2020 for this program, with a $285,000 (18 per cent) reduction of the total street sweeping budget. However, the City is now looking to evaluate alternative street sweeping options.

These options include the following:

  • Changing the current Spring Sweeping program by:
    1. Focusing on priority 1-3 roads where more sand and salt was applied during the winter months and reduce the sweeping frequency in residential neighborhoods;
    2. Rotating the sweeping of residential areas (i.e. Priority 4 routes) and only sweeping each road every other year;
    3. Or, by sweeping every street at least once a year.
  • Changing the Fall Sweeping program by implementing digital communications, implementing street signage, and/or implementing ticketing;
  • Discontinuing the Fall Sweeping program. The elimination of the Fall Sweeping program may have detrimental effects on our storm drainage system as leaves tend to block storm sewers and this is one of the primary reasons for the Fall Sweeping program but there are economic benefits;
  • Changing the frequency of the Downtown, Industrial and Arterial Sweeping programs to either increase or reduce the frequency of sweeping.
  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded. Thank you for your feedback.

    We recognize that COVID-19 and the public health restrictions have impacted our everyday activities. However, when thinking about these questions and your answers please think about your experiences before the pandemic.

    Take Survey
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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded. Thank you for your feedback.

    The City of Lethbridge Transportation Operations department provides the street cleaning services for the city. Historically, service levels included all residential roads being swept during the residential spring sweeping program, all non-residential sweeping was performed during the night and daytime summer sweeping program and fall leaves were swept away in selected residential neighborhoods during the fall leave sweeping program. The general purpose of sweeping is to keep the roads safe and reduce environmental impacts of storm runoff as well as helping to keep the city looking beautiful. 

    In 2020, the KPMG report noted the operating budget for the Transportation Operations sweeping program to be $1.4 million. The report identifies the opportunity to evaluate alternative street sweeping options and to consider whether the City should continue its current spring and fall sweeping schedule. 

    Since the KPMG report was issued, the City of Lethbridge underwent a budget reduction exercise which resulted in an 18% reduction ($285,000) in the Street Sweeping budget. The results of this budget cut are as follows:

    • Reduction of 2 rental street sweepers to the sweeper fleet (7 Sweepers 2020 – 5 Sweepers 2021)
    • Elimination of windshield wiper notification and door hangers for spring sweeping
    • Significant reduction in summer day sweeping services
    • Optimizing the number of passes/streets for spring sweeping services
    • The potential for not completing the residential spring sweeping program, or completing at a lower quality standard, depending on winter traction control material utilization and sweeper fleet reliability was identified. In 2021, sweeping was not completed in four neighborhoods. 

    Despite the changes to the sweeping budget, administration has continued to investigate alternatives to the street sweeping programs as per the KPMG recommendations. 

    This survey represents the service level modification options that were developed. In this survey we will be asking you to rank the options in your level of preference so that we can understand the public’s priorities around street sweeping in Lethbridge. 

    We recognize that COVID-19 and the public health restrictions have impacted our everyday activities. However, when thinking about these questions and your answers please think about your experiences before the pandemic.

    Take Survey
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
Page last updated: 16 Feb 2022, 09:22 AM