There is currently no planned de-icing, and/or clearing and hauling snow in Charlottetown requiring enforcement of the overnight winter parking restrictions. Check back for any change in status.
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City staff and contractors provide services to help Charlottetown residents travel safely in winter conditions through snow plowing, clearing and de-icing operations.
Below is information on how the Public Works Department operates its street and sidewalk clearing services. The City appreciates the public's cooperation and patience during operations addressing winter weather.
Winter Parking Restrictions
Winter Operation FAQs
Charlottetown is located in a climate that can experience winter weather from late November into April. The City works hard to try to control the snow and ice on streets, sidewalks and public property. Despite those continued efforts during the winter season, the public to is asked to be aware of winter conditions and take necessary precautions when traveling.
The City has general operational procedures to address winter conditions and events. However, like snowflakes, each winter event that occurs and the response required can be unique due to the many variables. These factors can include:
- type(s) of precipitation, amount, duration, current temperature, forecast temperature, wind direction, wind speed
- time and day of the week that the weather conditions improve, previous and future weather-related events, forecast changes
- depth of ground cover, frost penetration, equipment breakdowns, planned or cancelled public events
Winter Parking Restrictions
Having overnight winter parking restrictions in place allows for a proactive approach to road safety operations. Because traffic is not as heavy during the overnight hours, snow cleaning and winter maintenance can be done in a more efficient and effective way, which helps crews meet service delivery standards for snow removal.
On-street parking in the City is prohibited between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. from November 15 to April 15 each year. These restrictions are enforced on a discretionary basis as snow plowing and clearing or de-icing needs to take place. This applies to all vehicles, including those with residential parking permits. PLEASE NOTE: In addition to overnight parking restrictions, motorists should also be aware that under the Provincial Highway Traffic Act and the City Traffic bylaw, vehicles can be removed from the roadway at any time should they be parked in such a manner that the vehicle impedes the removal of snow from the roadway.
Motorists should avoid parking vehicles on City streets during or shortly after a heavy snowfall when roadways are not cleared to the curb.
The City will strive to post information on this page to alert the public of when snow clearing, plowing and de-icing will be taking place and parking restrictions will be enforced. The onus still lies with residents to be aware of weather conditions and move their vehicles when snow clearing, plowing or de-icing will be taking place.
To avoid the risk of being ticketed or towed, the City recommends residents not park on the streets between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. or during days when the snow alert remains activated for snow clearing or de-icing.
In the downtown core, the Confederation Landing parking lot is cleared as an off-street parking alternative, along with the City parkades.
Vehicles with residential parking permits are not exempt from the winter parking restrictions.
If your car has been towed, call Charlottetown Police at 902-629-4172. Tickets can be paid at Charlottetown City Hall at 199 Queen Street or at City Police headquarters at 10 Kirwood Drive. Tickets can also be paid online at: https://secure.city.charlottetown.pe.ca/tpay/t_plate.php
Street Clearing and De-icing
During a storm, the main priority is to keep streets open. Snow is plowed to the side while it is still falling. Crews will complete a "last pass" of all streets after the snow stops and turn their attention to hauling the snow after the storm, as needed, from areas where it has been piled. Most of the snow hauling is done at night when there isn't as much traffic in the area.
Plow operations generally start as soon as 2.5 centimetres of snow on priority routes and four centimeters of snow on other streets has accumulated. Plows are operated until the snowfall stops and then they complete a last circuit to clear all streets.
In some severe storms with zero visibility, plows may be pulled off the roads for the safety of the plow operators. In this rare circumstance, City plows are positioned by the Fire stations to lead them on any emergency calls. Police and Ambulance services will also be escorted by plows in this situation. De-icing occurs as is needed.
Street plowing is divided into geographic areas with the focus of each section being arterial/collector streets within City limits. The City uses a fleet of its own equipment, along with contractors in 20 designated sections over the network of more than 250 linear kilometers of streets. Depending on the conditions, a full circuit of a section may take three hours or more to complete necessary snow/de-icing operations.
Since the main priority during a storm is to keep streets open, sidewalks are not always cleared at the same time. The City recognizes the importance of pedestrian safety, but because sidewalk clearing takes longer and uses additional resources, sidewalk clearing will sometimes be delayed until the end of the snowfall. This is done so that initial efforts on sidewalks are not wasted with additional street work filling them in again.
The City of Charlottetown strives to be a full-service provider in clearing its sidewalks using City staff and contractors. Standard routes are mapped out for geographic sections. During a school day, sidewalks in school zones are the priority. If school is cancelled or the bad weather happens on a weekend, the priority shifts to sidewalks near shopping centres and churches.
A section begins with the top priority areas then works its way along a route. If another snowfall event occurs before the section is finished, the plow heads back to priority areas again before completing the circuit.
While there is a bylaw stipulating that commercial properties must maintain abutting sidewalks free of ice and snow, the City traditionally provides mechanical equipment to remove the majority of snow after a weather-related event. Achieving 'summer-like' sidewalk conditions in the winter is rarely realistic and the public must be aware of hazards such as slush and ice.
Assistance in providing passable sidewalks for pedestrians and plowing operations includes considering where waste bins are placed, and where snow cleared from driveways, parking lots and properties is piled.
The City will provide notice on this webpage when winter overnight parking restrictions will be enforced.
Hauling typically begins in the downtown parking area and radiates out. For a 15-25 cm snowstorm, it generally takes two to three cycles of a 16-hour night/day operation (without any equipment failures) to remove most of the snow.
Hauling is done during set overnight hours to have minimal interference with business and traffic downtown. The amount of time between the end of snowfall plowing and beginning of hauling depends on the timing of weather and severity of the storm. City crews start after 10 p.m. and pull the snow from the parking spots on both sides of the street into the middle, piling it in a boulevard-style, to allow traffic to flow and to open up parking spots. The piles of snow are then blown into trucks and hauled out of the City's core to snow storage areas. Most of the hauling is done overnight, but some snow is still being hauled during the day. For safety reasons, there may be temporary street closures as the snow is blown into trucks.
Winter Operation FAQ's
Why not remove the snow when plowing the core area?
This would greatly increase the time required to achieve the goal of having all streets open for travel and emergency access. The priority is to use equipment in plowing streets as quickly as possible and then focus on clearing parking spaces and sidewalks.
Why does it seem some snowfalls are hauled immediately and some are left a day before starting?
If the snow stops falling during the day and all streets have seen the last pass of the plows by the evening, staff and equipment resources may be able to start hauling at midnight and have some parking spots cleared by morning. If the snow stops falling late at night or early in the morning, crews will wait to start the first hauling cycle until the following evening to reduce the impact on busy public traffic periods.
Why is snow not hauled from parking areas 24-hours a day?
Winter parking restrictions are in place from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m. This period of time is used to haul snow out of the parking spaces with some snow piled for later removal during daylight hours. Staffing and operational logistics require having a short period of downtime in the early evenings to refresh the resources. PLEASE NOTE: In addition to overnight parking restrictions, motorists should also be aware that under the Provincial Highway Traffic Act and the City Traffic bylaw, vehicles can be removed from the roadway at any time should they be parked in such a manner that the vehicle impedes the removal of snow from the roadway. Motorists should avoid parking vehicles on City streets during or shortly after a heavy snowfall when roadways are not cleared to the curb and the snow alert for snow clearing and de-icing has been activated.
Why are sidewalks not cleared as well as streets?
The machines used to clear sidewalks don't move as fast as street plows. Snow and ice doesn't melt on sidewalks like it does on the dark pavement, which absorbs sunlight. Vehicle traffic on streets helps melt ice and snow, but foot traffic packs it down on sidewalks, making it harder to remove.
Why not move parking meters to the back of the sidewalk to make it easier to clear parking spaces?
The City has tried this in the past, but it was more difficult to tell which meter was assigned to which angled parking space and merchants were concerned about meters blocking store doors and windows.
Why is snow sometimes left between on-street parking spaces and the sidewalk?
Some snow may be left at the edge of a parking spot near the curb because plow drivers have to be careful not to damage curbs, parking meters, utility poles, etc. The City strives to provide priority service to clear ice and snow in disability parking spaces.
Why does equipment break down at the start of the season?
Crews prepared plow equipment for each season, but the first time it's used in real snow, bolts or hydraulic lines may fail under the pressure. The season's first snowfall - which is usually heavy and wet - tends to reveal weak parts that weren't visually obvious.
Why do the plows sometimes rip up the street-shoulder areas?
Plow operators are attempting to accomplish many goals, often in adverse conditions. It is desired to have the plow blades scrape as close as possible to the street asphalt that slopes from centerline to edge, but not have the plow blade catch the grass. The plow is also attempting to push snow back off the paved surface to allow for full vehicle width and storage of snow in the next weather-related event. When frost has penetrated the ground in mid-winter, a plow blade may more easily bounce off the frozen surface. But in first snowfall or spring thaw conditions, the damage to edge of the right-of-way can be more common.
Where should plow markers be located to assist in street marking?
Plow markers should be set two feet off the edge of the paved surface in uncurbed areas to allow for plow blade clearance and plowing of the full asphalt width. The first snowfall often presents operators with a flat, white surface and marking are appreciated in assisting them to determine the edge of the asphalt. Over the course of a winter, the snowbanks may become significant enough to help mark the street alignment.
Click here to read more about Winter Safety, including driving tips and parking solutions.