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Snow event FAQ

In order for the city to more efficiently plow Calgary roadways, a new snow route parking ban program has been approved.The city will declare a snow event if more than five centimetres of snow falls within a short period of time.

Here’s what you need to know when the City of Calgary implements a snow event.

• The city will issue an advisory when a snow event is expected to be implemented. Advisories are issued on the City of Calgary’s website, via email alerts, and through all major television and radio stations. The advisory will give drivers an advance warning as to when the parking bans are expected to come into effect. Drivers are asked to move their vehicles when receiving an advisory.

• Parking bans are in effect for 72 hours along all major roadways, collector roads, and most bus routes. For a map of all snow routes across the city, click here.
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• The parking ban may be lifted earlier than 72 hours by the city. They will issue an alert if the ban is lifted.

• Vehicles that remain parked on snow routes when an ban is in effect may be ticketed and/or towed.

• On-street handicap zones located on snow routes are exempt from snow route parking bans at all times.

• In the downtown core and business revitalization zones, the snow route parking bans are only in effect between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Parking is allowed during the daytime. Click here for a map of exempt areas.

More FAQ from the City of Calgary:

1. How much notice will Calgarians have to move their vehicles after a Snow Event is declared?

Calgarians are expected to move their vehicles from Snow Routes immediately after a Snow Event has been declared. If there is a chance of heavy snow, The City will issue a “Snow Event Advisory” through the media to warn the public that snow is expected and Snow Route parking bans will likely be put in effect. Calgarians are urged to be proactive and remove their vehicles from the street in advance of a parking ban being declared.

The City will typically follow a five-step process:
1. Snow Event Advisory – If five centimetres or more of snow is predicted in the forecast, The City will issue a “Snow Event Advisory” through the media. This is meant to warn citizens that snow is expected and vehicles parked in Snow Routes will have to be moved.
2. Citizens move their vehicles – Citizens parked on Snow Routes should move their vehicles as soon as possible after hearing a Snow Event Advisory.
3. Snow Event declaration – If there is an accumulated snow fall of five centimetres or more, The City will declare a Snow Event and Snow Route parking bans will be in effect for 72 hours or until The City of Calgary declares they are lifted.
4. Plowing – City streets will be plowed on a continual basis for up to 72 hours after a parking ban has been declared.
5. Snow Route parking ban lifted – The City will announce through the media when the Snow Route parking bans are lifted and citizens can park on the roads as usual.

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PLEASE NOTE – There may be times when it snows heavily, but Snow Route parking bans are not warranted. Snow Events are intended to support snow clearing operations, and will only be declared when there is an accumulation of five centimetres or more of snow on the roads. Snow accumulation depends on a number of factors including wind speed and road temperatures.

2. How much does it have to snow for a Snow Event to be declared?

Snow Events will typically be declared when plows are required to clear the snow. Although dependant on wind speed and temperature, plowing normally begins when five centimetres of snow has accumulated on city streets. If it is snowing, or if snow is predicted in the forecast, Calgarians are asked to refrain from parking on Snow Routes.

3. How long will Snow Route parking bans be in effect?

Snow Route parking bans will be in effect for 72 hours after a declaration has been made by The City. There may be times when parking bans are extended if all the snow has not been cleared from the road.

4. Why are Snow Route parking bans in effect for 72 hours?

In the 2011/2012 Snow and Ice Control Policy, Council directed snow clearing crews to plow priority routes within 72 hours of a snowfall. Snow removal operations are typically continuous over a 72 hour period, with plows often returning multiple times to various locations to remove snow that has fallen or accumulated over the course of the day.

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5. If a Snow Event has not been declared, but it is snowing, should I move my car?

Yes. If it is snowing, it is better to be proactive and move your vehicle off the street in advance of a parking ban declaration.

6. If one area of the city gets a lot of snow, but another area doesn’t, are the Snow Route parking bans still in effect city-wide?

Yes. When a Snow Route parking ban is declared, it will be in effect city-wide

7. My street has been plowed. Can I park my car on the road again?

No. Snow plows often return to the same locations multiple times to ensure the snow is cleared as thoroughly as possible. Snow Route parking bans are in effect for 72 hours following a declaration. If you are unsure if you can park, check Calgary.ca/snow or call 3-1-1 to find out if the Snow Route parking ban is still in effect.

No. Snow plows often return to the same locations multiple times to ensure the snow is cleared as thoroughly as possible. Snow Route parking bans are in effect for 72 hours following a declaration. If you are unsure if you can park, check or call 3-1-1 to find out if the Snow Route parking ban is still in effect.

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8. What will happen to vehicles if they are not moved from a Snow Route during a Snow Event?

Snow Route parking bans are new to Calgary and every effort will be made to ensure that citizens are aware that when a Snow Event is declared, vehicles will be banned from parking on Snow Routes. Enforcement from the Calgary Parking Authority will be coordinated with snow clearing operations. Vehicles that remain parked on Snow Routes during a Snow Event are subject to enforcement, up to and including a parking tag and tow.

9. What will happen to my vehicle if I am out of town and a Snow Route parking ban is put in effect?

All Calgarians are responsible for moving their vehicles off Snow Routes during Snow Events. If you are going out of town, please ensure your car is not parked on a Snow Route. Alternatively, ask a friend or neighbour to move your car for you if a Snow Event is declared. Calgarians should also be aware that currently legislation restricts vehicles from being parked in one location for over 72 hours.

10. Can I still put my waste and recycling bins on the street if I live on a Snow Route and a parking ban has been declared?

Blue and black carts left on the street can interfere with snow clearing operations. Place your cart on the sidewalk or boulevard next to the curb when a Snow Route parking ban is in effect.

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If your cart is picked up from a back lane, put it in the same place as normal. Make sure to leave at least one metre between the cart and surrounding objects such as parked cars.

11. What happens if I move my car and the snow gets plowed onto my sidewalk?

In some cases, excess snow may end up on the sidewalk after plowing. Citizens can call

3-1-1 and Roads will evaluate the location and remove the snow from the sidewalk as required.

12. If there is a paid parking zone, or I have a residential parking sticker, am I allowed to park on a Snow Route during a Snow Event?

No. If a Snow Event is declared, the Snow Route parking bans supersede any “permission” parking. Parking will not be permitted on a Snow Route for 72 hours following the declaration of a snow event. Parking is permitted in regularly designated areas that are not on Snow Routes.

No. If a Snow Event is declared, the Snow Route parking bans supersede any “permission” parking. Parking will not be permitted on a Snow Route for 72 hours following the declaration of a snow event. Parking is permitted in regularly designated areas that are not on Snow Routes.

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2. What are my options for finding alternative parking in the city during a Snow Event?

Calgarians living and/or working on Snow Routes are encouraged to find alternate parking in a garage, underground parkade, surface lot or on secondary side streets. The Calgary Parking Authority will also provide free overnight parking in their parkades and surface lots during Snow Events. Visit the Calgary Parking Authority for information on lot locations.

Calgarians living and/or working on Snow Routes are encouraged to find alternate parking in a garage, underground parkade, surface lot or on secondary side streets. The Calgary Parking Authority will also provide free overnight parking in their parkades and surface lots during Snow Events. Visit the Calgary Parking Authority for information on lot locations.

3. Can I park in my back alley during a Snow Event?

Parking will be permitted in back alleys during Snow Events, as long as:
• The alley is wider that 6.1 metres and there are no pre-existing parking restrictions in the laneway
• Vehicles are not parked within 1.5 metres of, or directly across from a driveway or garage
• Vehicles are not parked within 1 metre of the side of garbage containers
• A minimum of 3 metres of clearance is maintained on either side of the vehicle to allow others to get through the alley unobstructed. See the traffic bylaw for more information.

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Parking will be permitted in back alleys during Snow Events, as long as: • The alley is wider that 6.1 metres and there are no pre-existing parking restrictions in the laneway • Vehicles are not parked within 1.5 metres of, or directly across from a driveway or garage • Vehicles are not parked within 1 metre of the side of garbage containers • A minimum of 3 metres of clearance is maintained on either side of the vehicle to allow others to get through the alley unobstructed. See the traffic bylaw for more information.

4. Am I allowed to park on my front lawn during a Snow Route parking ban?

No. Front lawns are private property and The City’s Land Use Bylaw states, “vehicles may only be parked in the actual front setback area when the vehicle is located on a driveway or motor vehicle parking stall that is surfaced with asphalt, concrete or similar hard surface”.

No. Front lawns are private property and The City’s Land Use Bylaw states, “vehicles may only be parked in the actual front setback area when the vehicle is located on a driveway or motor vehicle parking stall that is surfaced with asphalt, concrete or similar hard surface”.

5. What will happen to my vehicle if I do not move it during a Snow Route parking ban?

Vehicles left in a parking restricted area are subject to enforcement measures up to and including a parking tag and tow. If you believe your vehicle is missing due to a parking infraction you can verify this with the municipal impound lot at 403-537-7111.

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Vehicles left in a parking restricted area are subject to enforcement measures up to and including a parking tag and tow. If you believe your vehicle is missing due to a parking infraction you can verify this with the municipal impound lot at 403-537-7111.

6. How do I log a complaint about a vehicle that hasn’t moved off of the street for a long time, even if it is not on a Snow Route?

Contact the Calgary Parking Authority at 403-537-7100.

1. Are there any exceptions to Snow Route parking bans?

Yes. Snow Routes located in Business Revitalization Zones (BRZ) and downtown will be exempt from the Snow Route parking ban during the day. When a Snow Event is declared, parking will be banned in these areas from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. only. Existing parking controls will continue to be in effect at all times. Please refer to the map for more information.

2. Will handicap on-street parking be impacted during a snow event?

On-street handicap zones located along Snow Routes will be excluded from the parking ban at all times. Citizens with mobility challenges can apply for a handicap zone in front of their home by following the handicap parking zone and sign process.  

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