The City Wants to Hear from You!
223.5 cm (or just over 7 feet for those who still use imperial measurements)! That’s the normal snowfall for the season in Ottawa. When that 223.5 cm starts to fall and accumulate, the City’s winter maintenance quality standards (WMQS) dictate when staff and equipment are mobilized to begin clearing the streets and sidewalks to keep drivers, pedestrians and cyclists safe.
The City’s current WMQS were adopted in 2003 and a great deal has changed since then. City policies and plans have evolved, and we have many new and improved transportation options, from the LRT to cycle tracks and more sidewalks on local streets. The result is a shift away from single drivers in vehicles to increased use of public and active transportation (walking, biking, roller blading, etc.).
The WMQS Project Team is also reviewing how the City can progressively plan the winter maintenance quality standards to accommodate for climate change; according to a recent study commissioned by the City and the National Capital Commission, winters could be four weeks shorter by the 2030s with far more freeze-thaw cycles between December and February, and fewer “deep freeze” events. This would have an impact on ice build-up, particularly on residential roadways, sidewalks and bike lanes. Accessibility, diversity, sustainability, safety and healthy living will also be reviewed as these weren’t considered when the current standards were drafted.
Between now and early 2021, the WMQS Project Team will be reviewing and developing new options for winter maintenance and they want to hear from you!
For more information on the WMQS Review Project and ways to get involved please visit engage.ottawa.ca/wmqs
It’s also interesting to note that the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac is calling for “snowier-than-normal conditions” this season, so I suspect there’s probably going to be a lot to talk about!
Looking forward to hearing what you think!
Following a Direction from Council after the harsh winter of 2018/2019, the City’s Roads & Parking Services Branch is undertaking a review of its Winter Maintenance Quality Standards in order to propose changes that will improve the following facilities:
- winter maintenance to residential roads;
- pedestrian facilities, such as sidewalks around schools and bus stops;
- cycling facilities (the winter cycling network); and
- active transportation facilities, used for walking, cycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, etc.
Winter Maintenance Quality Standards (WMQS) define the desirable level of maintenance and the executed outcome of each winter service by defining the timing and extent of each winter maintenance activity in the context of achieving the overall objective of safe and passable roads and sidewalks by reducing hazards caused by snow and ice accumulation.
A consultant has been hired to perform a “Current State and Best Practice Review” among a number of other deliverables. Using information garnered through their research, Wood Consulting will develop three options for each MQS facility type in the project scope.
The options will be presented at Public Engagement sessions to obtain critical feedback and help identify the recommended option for each facility type. A Public Engagement Strategy and Implementation Plan has been developed that will utilize public engagement best practices to support Stakeholder Engagement.
Council will make the final decision on any changes to our current WMQS. Input and feedback on the proposed options from residents and other stakeholders, current industry best practices and research into standards in similar cities in Canada, the United States and Europe will inform staff analysis and recommendations.