Roads and Parking Services
The Roads and Parking Services team is responsible for the City’s winter maintenance program. This team is committed to keeping Ottawa’s sidewalks, winter cycling network and roads safe and passable for all users while proactively communicating operational updates to Council during winter events. An effective winter maintenance program is essential for the city to function under winter weather conditions.
Guided by the Council-approved Maintenance Quality Standards (MQS), sidewalks and roads are cleared based on their usage volume and priority level. Snow clearing and / or treatment on major roads, arterial roads, major collector roads, and priority sidewalks begins at the start of accumulation. After the last snowflake falls, major roads, arterial roads, and major collectors are plowed within four hours, minor collectors within six hours, and residential roads and lanes within 10 hours. Sidewalks are plowed within six to sixteen hours based on their priority level.
The City of Ottawa may declare a Significant Weather Event (SWE) when Environment Canada issues a Winter Weather Hazard alert for occurring or approaching weather that may pose significant danger to the users of Ottawa’s transportation network. Declaring an SWE gives the City the flexibility to prioritize the deployment of its resources, informs the public to exercise caution while travelling and suspends the Council-approved MQS timelines, as restoring the transportation network to its expected condition will take longer than usual.
Enhancements for the 2022/2023 Season
Based on feedback and the ongoing review of service delivery, operational enhancements that were implemented during the 2021/2022 season will continue in 2022/2023.
Included in these enhancements are:
• Around-the-clock maintenance of our sidewalks;
• Responding more proactively and aggressively to all types of winter events;
• Converting all our combo fleet blades from metal to rubber encapsulated carbide;
• Alternating starting points on residential beats; and,
• Analyzing winter weather events to deploy resources earlier and as required, based on forecasts and local conditions.
Winter Weather Parking Bans
From November 15 to April 1, when Environment Canada forecasts significant freezing rain or at least seven centimeters of snow (including ranges such as five to ten), a winter weather parking ban may be called, at the discretion of the General Manager of Public Works. Vehicles without valid residential parking permits that remain parked on the road during a ban risk being ticketed.
To help residents prepare, winter weather parking bans are called by set times:
• Daytime bans are called by 3:30 pm on the day before the ban is scheduled to go into effect. Street parking is prohibited between 10 am and 7 pm the following day.
• Nighttime bans are called by 9 am on the day that the ban is scheduled to go into effect. Street parking is prohibited between 7 pm and 7 am.
Parking bans are called to support winter operations. When there are no vehicles on the road, operators can more effectively clear the roads and catch basins of ice and snow.
When a winter weather parking ban is called, the City issues a special advisory to the local media, posts to ottawa.ca and its Facebook and Twitter accounts. 3-1-1 will update its Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) system, informing anyone calling – without the need of waiting in queue to speak with a live agent – on the status of the winter parking restrictions. Residents may also register for the Winter Parking Ban e-alerts, or stay in the know by downloading the City of Ottawa app on their Android or Apple device.
Where to park during a winter weather parking ban?
Over the past two years, the City has increased the number of available parking alternatives during a winter weather event to include designated park and ride locations and recreation centres, as well as some municipal parking garages. Parking is available at specific times, and residents are responsible for observing the guidelines, or they will have to pay the regular parking rate for their stay. To support local businesses, paid parking remains available during a ban on designated commercial main streets.
In preparation for winter weather, Traffic Services has wrapped up all pavement marking operations for the year, and the removal of all traffic calming flex stakes and bicycle bollards is ongoing throughout November. During major weather events, the Traffic Management team activates the Traffic Incident Management Group. This group monitors in real-time most major roads and intersections within the city of Ottawa and reports any important information – such as collisions or heavy congestion – to Roads and Parking Services, Ottawa Police Service and OC Transpo staff. The duration of
traffic signal phases can be adjusted remotely in order to help clear unusual build-up of traffic from one direction.
Safer Roads Ottawa will continue road safety education efforts with fall and winter themed initiatives and campaigns, primarily through web and social media channels.
• Wildlife and deer on roadways
• Be safe, Be seen (pedestrian and cyclist visibility)
• Lights on Bikes
• Impaired Driving awareness and education
• Leave the Phone Alone & Drop It and Drive (distracted driving)
Traffic Services’ Interactive Traffic Map has a mobile friendly, accessible interface sharing information to help residents navigate Ottawa roads during the winter season, including:
• Traffic monitoring cameras;
• Events (including any street closures for Christmas parades and Winterlude);
• City parking;
• Park and Ride locations; and
• Enforcement cameras.
For information about Traffic Services, please contact Phil Landry at 613-580-2424 ext. 23185, or Carol Hall at 613-580-2424 ext. 20070.
Parks Maintenance and Forestry Services
Parks Maintenance operations prepare for the winter season by closing and winterizing spray pads, wading pools, parks fountains, decorative fountains and irrigation systems. Seasonal docks, tennis, volleyball, and safety netting were removed. Integrated Turf Management for sports fields and related park amenities – such as ball diamonds and outdoor sports courts – continued to be serviced through the fall.
Throughout the winter season, Parks Maintenance services outdoor rinks including installing temporary rink boards, hockey nets, lighting and netting; flooding outdoor rinks with no on-site water source; supporting community-run rinks by providing emergency access and responding to requests for repairs. Additionally, Parks Maintenance staff install protective foam/straw bales at select tobogganing hills, clear snow at City-owned facility parking lots, and continue monthly inspections of play structures. Reports of hazardous conditions within park areas will be addressed.
Forestry operations continue during the winter months as well. Crews focus on proactive tree inspections, pruning and removals – in addition to responding to service requests for trees. Ongoing tree maintenance activities include removal of dead or unsafe trees, tree pruning, insect and disease control, and municipal conservation forest maintenance. Our 24/7 team is available to respond to emergency calls, including winter storm response through 3-1-1.
While tree planting only takes place in the spring (May to June) and fall (October to November), residents and community groups can continue to request tree planting year-round for various programs. Requests will be processed for the next available planting season. Tree by-law enforcement and the review of tree removal permit applications continue year-round as well.
The Tree Inventory Program is an essential tool to assist in the management of the city’s urban and rural forests. Data collected includes the location, species and other characteristics of City-owned trees. Data collection and maintenance is done on a year-round basis.
Solid Waste Services
Daily collection continues for garbage, recycling and organic waste during the winter months. In case of delays due to bad weather conditions, Public Works and Public Information and Media Relations notify the public through social media and ReCollect messages.
Historically, the City’s household hazardous waste (HHW) events run from spring to fall each year. The last event of 2022 was held at the end of October. Information on the HHW events for 2023 will be released in early 2023. Throughout the year, household hazardous waste can be disposed of at various locations around the city. Residents can find details about disposing of specific materials by using the Waste Explorer on the City’s website.
Solid Waste Services collects Christmas trees and they must be free of decorations and not wrapped in plastic bags. For curbside collection, they will be collected on the same day as the green bin. For multi-residential collection, properties with green bin collection should contact their property manager and ask where to place their Christmas trees until collection day. Christmas trees from these properties will be collected with regular organic material. Multi-residential properties without green bin collection should check their address in the collection calendar tool on ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 to find out about the next curbside collection day in their neighbourhood. They can then place their tree at the curb for pick-up by the City’s curbside contractor. Residents can also give their Christmas tree a purposeful second life by choosing re-use options found online at Waste Reduction and Education.
Seasonal waste receptacles are removed from park locations that are not maintained during the winter and are reinstalled in the spring each year. Permanent receptacles may be capped where they are unable to be removed or serviced during the winter. Staff will continue to service a reduced number of park waste receptacles in areas with winter activities. Requests for graffiti removal within park areas will continue to be addressed.
Development of the draft Solid Waste Master Plan is underway. A draft Waste Plan will be tabled for Council’s consideration in the first half of 2023, followed by a final round of public engagement and tabling of the final Waste Plan for Council consideration by the end of 2023.
Many of the Public Works Departments services are delivered through a geographic “District” model, using a number of yards that are located across the city. Maps below identifying district boundaries used for winter operations in Roads, Parks Maintenance, and Forestry Services; the manager assigned to each district; and the operational yards located in each ward.
For information, services, or to report an emergency related to operational maintenance, the community and your offices are encouraged to call the Contact Centre at 3-1-1 or submit a Service Request online at Service Ottawa.