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Common Snow Storm Questions & Answers


NOTE:  Many residents are unaware the Town does not have extra staff or shifts for nights, weekends or holidays.  The work performed during these 'after-hour' times is done by the same staff that works regular weekday hours.  Staff make every effort to maintain the Town's roads and sidewalks in a professional and timely manner.

The Town of Grimsby has 333 lane KM of roads and 70 KM of sidewalks that require winter maintenance.

Our drivers are regulated by the Province as to the maximum number of hours (13 hours) they are allowed to drive.  With this limitation, we work to clear snow from roads and sidewalks so our residents can get home at the end of a snow event.

Every winter, we have incidents where residents have thrown objects, snow and shovels at our equipment or verbally abused our drivers.  Our staff are trying to do the best job they can.  They are out clearing snow before most people leave for work and continue to work until most people come home at the end of the day.  As well, our staff then has to go home and shovel their own driveways.

#1. A Town worker said my children are not allowed to play on the piles of snow along the roadside.  Is this true? 
#2. I saw the plow truck start to do our street, but then backed up and left without finishing.  I called the Town and was told that the plow could not go between the parked cars.
 #3. The Town left a parking ticket on my car during a snow storm.
 #4. There is snow left on my street from the plow going around parked cars.  When does the plow come back to plow away the snow left on my street?
 #5. Why does the plow always put snow in my driveway?  I want you to come back and clear out this snow!
 #6. You already plowed the street and then came back the next day and pushed more snow into my driveway.
 #7. My street isn't cleared until the end of the day and other streets get done earlier, why?
 #8.  I live on a court and you don't properly clear the snow away when the truck comes through.  Then later in the day, you have another machine come and move the remaining snow.  Why don't you do this the first time with the plow truck?
 #9. Why do you bother to take away the snow along the curbs - can't you just leave it melt?
 #10. I was told that I can't put the snow onto the road.  Why not?  You just plow it away anyway!
 #11. I need you to keep my street clear of snow because I have a medical condition and might need to get to the hospital.
 #12. Why do you 'close' the road to Woolverton hill?  Why can't you keep it open so I don't have to drive to another spot to get up or down the hill?
 #13. I saw you spraying a liquid on the dry road.  Why and won't this make it slippery?
 #14. Why do other municipalities use salt on their roads but Grimsby uses sand?
 #15. I have been informed that you know where your trucks are located and what they are doing during a snowstorm.
 #16. Part of the sidewalk to my house is on the Town's property.  Why don't you plow this sidewalk?
 #17. Your machine just plowed the snow from the sidewalk and then a road plow came along and filled in the newly clearly sidewalk.
 #18. Your plow dug into the grass and made a mess.
 #19. Usually my street has been plowed by this time - what has happened?
 #20. Why is the sidewalk plow travelling along the sidewalks when they have already been cleared of snow?
#21. Your plow hit my mailbox or the snow from the plow knocked over my mailbox.
#22. I am unable to get to the "super mail boxes" due to the snow plowed around the mailboxes.
#23. I am unable to climb over the snow banks in the downtown core along Main Street to get to the stores.
#24. Your plow hit and demolished my recycle bin; I need a replacement.
#25. Why is the parking lot to a park cleaned before some of the roads?
#26. I live on a corner lot and get more snow in my driveway than my neighbours.
 #27. Do I have to clear the snow away from the fire hydrant at the bottom of my property?


Answers - #1
Snow Banks
- At all times, please ensure children do not play in snow banks along the roadways or sidewalks.
Tunnels - Children like to tunnel, make forts and slides in the roadside snow banks. This is a dangerous situation and we ask all parents to ensure their children are not in any areas where the plows could be working.
Snow plow operators plowing the streets or sidewalks are unaware if children are playing in snow banks. Children can be fascinated by large equipment and machines, but please make sure they are supervised and at a safe distance/location from snow clearing operations while they work.   Back to Top 

Answer - #2
Parked cars slow down clearing operations and delay our response to other streets.  Keep your vehicles off the road during a snow event and 48 hours after the storm event for cleanup operations.
Plows will not continue further if the plow operator cannot safely manoeuvre between cars parked on the street (especially cars parked across from each other on the street). The operator will leave that area and attempt to return to this area when he has completed the remainder of his route—but this may not be until the next day.
“Stagger” the parking if you must park on the street and a vehicle is already parked directly across from where you want to park.  Plows might be able to manoeuvre between the cars and continue to plow the street.  Back to Top

Answer - #3
Parking Enforcement does occur during snow events and tickets may be issued to vehicles parked on the road.   Back to Top

Answer - #4
Our priority is to continue plowing streets to ensure that all residents’ streets have at least one plowing during an event and resources are not available to return during a storm to clear snow left behind due to parked cars.
If the plow has already been on your street and plowed around parked cars, there will be a mound of snow left around the parked vehicles.  Once those parked cars have left, the plow will return to clear the snow left behind, but this will not be during the snow event and may not occur until the next day or more.  Back to Top

Answer - #5
There will always be varying amounts of road snow that is deposited by the plow into driveway openings which cannot be avoided each time the plow clears the streets.
The Town will not clean out snow that has been deposited by our plows into driveways. We suggest that if you have a medical/physical condition that prohibits you from clearing the snow from your driveway, that you contact family, neighbours, or contractors that may be able to assist with the snow removal.
When you shovel your driveway at the road edge, place the snow at the ‘downstream’ side of the driveway; i.e.: put the piled snow where plow will take the snow away – not where the plow will ‘drag/push’ the piled snow back into your driveway or in the centre of the road.  Back to Top

Answer - #6
After a significant snow storm and the initial snow plowing and sanding has been completed, the Town’s forces will need to remove snow that is piled along the road edge/curb that is causing the road surface to ‘narrow’.   This snow still remaining on the road requires the plows to go through the streets and push it back. This may cause some snow to be deposited back into your driveways.
This operation is also assists in exposing the road drainage catch basins, which need to be open to handle melting snow or rain storms to reduce freezing on the road. 
You can assist in getting water off the street by exposing catch basins that may be along the curb in front of your home.  Back to Top

Answer - #7
All snow plow routes have a start and end location. Your street may be at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a snow plow route which may be up to 12 hours to complete after the storm stops.  Many residents call upset because the plow hasn’t arrived, but depending on the street, they may not be scheduled to be plowed until the end of the plow’s route.
Residents also call about seeing a street around the corner being plowed but theirs hasn’t been or their road isn’t done until hours afterwards. There are different plows for different routes and this is not the plow that does your street.  Back to Top

Answer - #8
A large snow plow is not able to maneuver effectively within a cul-de-sac and is best used on the straighter roadways.
If you live on a cul-de-sac, dead end court or at a 90 degree bend in the road, you may find that the plow will come through and clear the central lanes and leave the area.  Our typical operation is for a different type of machine to follow-up later to clean the street more thoroughly.
There could be a significant lag time before this machine arrives to finish plowing.  This process allows us to ‘free up’ the main plows to continue clearing snow efficiently, rather than spend too much time at one location.  Back to Top

Answer - #9
The Town may need to remove snow from courts, cul-de-sacs, intersections at times throughout the winter to improve visibility and provide additional space for future snow storage.  Again, the Town does not remove snow that may have been deposited in driveways during snow clearing operations.  Back to Top

Answer - #10  
Placing snow or ice on a roadway is a violation under the Highway Traffic Act.
Please do not shovel, push, snow plow, or deposit snow onto the roadway, shoulders or sidewalks.  This hampers our operations, may cause snowy or slippery conditions for pedestrians or vehicles and delay our clean-up by requiring our equipment return to clear areas that were previously cleared.  Back to Top

Answer - #11
Call “911” for emergencies during a winter storm that requires Fire, Police or Ambulance whether or not your street has been cleared.  If Emergency Response agencies have difficulty accessing a street, the Emergency responder will contact Town staff directly and we respond immediately.
We receive many calls from residents needing the road cleared because they have to get to the airport, doctor appointment, have a medical condition, etc. and want the road opened immediately.  We cannot respond to these requests as ‘all’ Town staff and equipment are working in their designated routes and we cannot effectively or efficiently reschedule them to other locations.
Residents with appointments must keep themselves aware of the winter storm events and schedule their appointments accordinglyBack to Top

Answer - #12
Closing of escarpment access roads (Woolverton & Park Roads) may occur during a winter event.
Due to their extreme steepness, there are times during a storm when staff can no longer maintain these access roads in a safe and passable condition. This requires the road to be temporarily closed. 
We strongly urge drivers to not attempt using these roads when they have been ‘closed’.
If you happen to get ‘stuck’ on these roads, a tow truck might not be able to get to you.
Mountain Street is an alternate route that is maintained constantly by the Region of Niagara and is recommended in these situations.  Back to Top

Answer - #13
The Town applies an anti-icing liquid to the escarpment accesses (Woolverton & Park Road hills) prior to a forecasted storm when conditions permit.  This is a product that is sprayed on the road and dries quickly and looks like 5 or 6 narrow beige coloured lines on the road surface. Immediately after the liquid is applied to the road, the surface will be slightly wet, but this is no more slippery than water/rain and the product dries within a few minutes.  This liquid is activated by the snow and provides melting action by “breaking” the bond between the snow and the road surface.  Back to Top

Answer - #14
The Town limits the amount of salt used on the roads to reduce the impact of the salt on the environment as required by Environment Canada.
The Town uses a mixture of sand and salt to provide traction on the road surface. This mixture is 5 parts sand to one part salt (by volume).  Back to Top

Answer - #15
The Town’s plow trucks and sidewalk plows are equipped with GPS devices that can provide
location, time, temperature, sand application rates and plow up/down data. Supervisory staff use this formation to determine the progress of the snow removal operations and ensure all areas are completed.  Back to Top

Answer - #16
We do not clear residents’ sidewalks that ‘branch-off’ from the Towns’ sidewalks and go into private property this is the responsibility of the property owner.  Back to Top  

Answer - #17
The Town provides sidewalk clearing during and after storm events.  Town sidewalks run along the Town and Region of Niagara roadways.  Many of the Town’s sidewalks are located close to the road and once cleared of snow can be refilled in by a passing roadway plow.  This cannot be prevented, as there is very little space between the road edge and the sidewalk to ‘store’ the snow that is coming off both the road and the sidewalk.  When this occurs, once we become aware, staff will return to these locations to remove the snow as soon as possible.  Back to Top

Answer - #18
During snow clearing operations on both our roads and sidewalks, there is always the possibility that some grass or granular shoulder along the roadside may be ‘rutted’ or disturbed. If this occurs, please contact our Operations Center and we will schedule the repairs in the Spring.  We do not repair or replace speciality concrete, paver stone or asphalt driveways/aprons that may be damaged by our snow clearing operationsBack to Top

Answer - #19
Many residents have a ‘rough’ idea as to when the plow generally arrives on their street after the start of a storm.  If you have not seen a plow and it is well past the usual time that a plow would generally be around and you think your street may have been missed, please call the Operations Center and information will be forwarded to staff.  Operators are very good at completing their plow routes in a regular routine; however, alterations may occur due to equipment breakdown, delays due to parked cars obstructing our progress or plows having to bypass areas that can’t be safely manoeuvred and end up redirected to other streets where they can get through safely.
There may be a possibility that your street is missed but staff tries their best and sometimes human mistakes are made.  This generally occurs when equipment breaks-down and another truck that is unfamiliar with the route has to plow the streets. If we become aware that a street has been missed, then staff will make arrangements to have the street plowed at the earliest opportunity.
Calls to the Operations Center during Snow clearing operations are recorded and forwarded to staff for review. We do not provide information, call backs nor will we identify when the plow will reach a particular street.  When dealing with a snow event, all our resources are involved in the snow removal.
Depending on the storm event, it can take 9 to 12 hours (or more) after the storm finishes for the plows to get to all the streets on their route.  Back to Top

Answer - #20
After a snow event, the sidewalk plow may be assigned to patrol the sidewalks looking for icy/slippery sections and/or to plow any areas where snow may have filled in the sidewalk.  Back to Top

Answer - #21
The Town will replace a mailbox and/or post, if there is obvious physical evidence on the mailbox/post that it was struck by the plow.
The Town is not responsible for mailboxes or posts that may have been knocked down or bent from the snow coming off the plow.  Back to Top
Answer - #22
The Town does not clear the access areas to super mailboxes. If you have a concern, you need to contact Canada Post.  Back to Top

Answer - #23
The Town does not remove the snow banks along the Main Street downtown core, as this street belongs to the Region of Niagara.  Any inquires should be directed to the Region.
The Town does clear out small access pathways through the snow banks at various locations along the parking sections of the Main Street downtown core. 
These pathways are generally located atthe end of every other parking stall but they could be obstructed by parked cars.  Back to Top

Answer - #24
If your recycle bin has been broken by the plow truck, please return the bin to our Operations Center located on the corner of Elizabeth and Clarke Street and it will be replaced free of charge.  Back to Top

Answer - #25
The parking lots for the Town’s arena and other associated Town buildings are maintained by the Parks & Facilities department. Their staff acts independently from the Public Works department that maintains the roads, sidewalks and some parking lots in the downtown core.  There is the possibility that you may see some Parks/Facilities lots being cleared before some roadways.  Back to Top

Answer - #26
Properties with both frontage and side yards fronting the street may receive more snow in their driveways than others with only frontage.  Depending on the amount of snow and absence of other driveways in the area, there is the potential for the plow to ‘carry’ snow around corners and deposit the snow into the first driveway opening.
Town operators are aware of this issue and try to minimize this impact where possible.  Back to Top

Answer - #27 
Please ensure snow is cleared away from fire hydrants if at the bottom of your property.Fire Hydrant Accessibility   Back to Top


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