During Monday’s council meeting I asked Roads to provide council with a report evaluating the success of the the city’s first “snow event” and the snow-route parking bans that it triggered. We received that report, and I felt I should share it here.
Snow Route Program Review:
The Snow Route program helps ensure that vehicles are not parked on designated Snow Routes during Snow Events. This facilitates faster and more effective snow removal. Snow Routes are classified as Priority 2 routes for snow clearing and typically accommodate higher traffic volumes as well as buses. Expeditious removal of snow from these routes helps ensure efficient travel for all Calgarians.
Approximately 4,000 signs were installed by November 15 to identify the designated Snow Routes. These signs are located along Snow Routes to ensure visibility for road users. They are standard 300mm X 450mm signs that state “Snow Route – No Parking.”
A comprehensive communication plan has been underway since the program was approved by Council on 2011 October 3. This plan includes: online information such as a list of FAQ’s and an interactive map on Calgary.ca, mail notifications to owners of vehicles who park on Snow Routes, an email notification application that currently has 6,000 subscribers, advanced notifications for the Aldermanic Offices and standardized messaging for 3-1-1. Information is also available online at Calgary.ca/snow. To date there have been over 20,000 site visits.
Event Summary (December 3 Snow Storm):
The first Snow Route program implementation occurred during the 2011 December 3 to 5 snow storm. Roads continually assessed the need to implement the program from the start of the storm (approx. 5:00 p.m. Saturday, December 3) to try and avoid, if possible, the need to institute a parking ban. A Snow Event advisory notification was issued at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 4 to provide owners an opportunity to relocate their vehicles. The parking ban was put into effect at 2:00 p.m. when an Event Declaration was cascaded through all available channels.
Operational progress and weather allowed Roads to lift the parking ban earlier than expected. The ban was lifted at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, December 5, just 28 hours after it was issued. The current policy for Priority 2 Routes (Snow Routes) states that snow clearing should be completed within 48 hours of the start of a snow storm. Use of the Snow Route parking ban, along with weather conditions, allowed crews to complete their work 42% faster (20 hours sooner) than the policy stipulates. Other City Business Units, such as Calgary Transit, indicated that as a result of the faster work Transit was able to resume regular operations sooner.
CPA conducted a survey in 2011 November to determine how many vehicles typically parked along Snow Routes. They identified approximately 15,000 vehicles. As part of the awareness campaign, CPA sent direct mail notifications to the vehicle owners advising them that they had been parked on a Snow Route and in future, Snow Event parking restrictions would be in effect.
During the December 3 snow storm, CPA noted that approximately 80% of vehicles identified in the survey were removed from the Snow Routes. CPA issued 4,140 warning notices for vehicles during the parking ban.
Email subscriptions for updates regarding Snow Route parking bans have been available since mid-October. In the first few weeks of operation, 150 Calgarians subscribed. This number has since grown to approximately 6,000 and it continues to grow rapidly.
On Sunday, December 4, the Snow Route parking ban webpage was the busiest webpage on Calgary.ca with a total of 9,696 visits from people using mobile devices and computers. It was the second busiest page on Monday, December 5 with a total of 7,201 visits. To date, there have been over 20,000 visits to the webpage. An iPhone application showing snow routes was also released this week with over 6,000 subscribers to the free software application.
The Snow Line received 3,400 phone calls during the December 3 snow storm. The automated system was able to answer many of the questions resulting in 247 service requests.
Roads will continue to monitor snow ban operations to ensure success of the Snow Route parking ban program. It is my intention to provide Council with updates after each Snow Event.