Snow Removal

Sidewalk snowplow

The City of Peterborough works to keep our roads, sidewalks, paved trails and bus stops, safe year round.  We clear roads, bike lanes and sidewalks based on regulated maintenance standards. The City has 16 plow routes to cover 978 kilometres of roads, 9 sidewalk plows to cover 450 kilometres of sidewalks, provides maintenance to 39 kilometres of trails and 650 bus stops.

Road salt management is an important component of winter road and sidewalk maintenance. Learn more about road salt management.

Level of service depends on the type of road

Arterial and Collector roads
Routes are designed to address arterial and collector roads first as required by legislated standards. These roads see the highest volume of traffic daily in our city, are on transit routes, or pass by the hospital. These streets are priority in winter weather events.
 Residential roads
Once the arterial and collector roads are clear or safe resources are deployed to residential or local streets.

We have established plans and routes for clearing snow. Depending on the severity of the storm, the time it takes to finish the snow clearing varies. A large storm or continuous snowfall over a long period of time may extend the amount of time it will take to clear snow from local streets.

Our Public Works division provides service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Depending on storm conditions, we can deploy 16 plow trucks, 2 graders, 9 sidewalk plows and 6 loaders.

As snow accumulates during the winter, we regularly remove snow banks in the downtown area. We post no parking signs ahead of the snow bank removal work to allow our crews to access the area and remove the snow.

Winter parking

Winter parking restrictions on City streets

Winter parking restrictions assist with snow-clearing operations.  To avoid tickets and/or your vehicle being towed, observe the following:

From December 1 to April 1, parking is prohibited on all City streets from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.  

This allows better, quicker snow clearing of city streets and at a lower cost because equipment will not have to return to clear areas where vehicles were parked.  The fine for a violation is $25.

During a snowstorm, when snow-clearing operations are underway, no stopping of a vehicle is permitted on any city street.

Snow-clearing operations typically take place between midnight and 8 a.m.  The fine is $80 for this violation and your vehicle will be towed.  All vehicles north of Parkhill Road will be towed to Milroy Park located at 242 Milroy Dr., with all other vehicles towed to Morrow Park located at 171 Lansdowne St. W. After 24 hours all unclaimed vehicles will be towed to an impound yard at the owners expense.

Where can I park off street?

Vehicles need to be off all streets, including streets in the downtown.  Free overnight parking is permitted at all municipal parking lots, the King Street Parkade and the Simcoe Parking Garage. Vehicles parked overnight at either parking garage can obtain a gate arm ticket upon entry to the garage to be used for a free transit trip home.

Can I park on City streets during the day or evening when it is snowing?

Parking is normally permitted throughout the day and evening during snowy weather outside of the specified hours when it is not allowed.  Only in an extreme weather event would a public service announcement be initiated to remove vehicles from city streets during the day or evening.

Remember parking is prohibited for longer than three hours on City streets at any time of the year, except where a sign indicates otherwise.

Thank you for your cooperation – you are helping to make city snow clearing more efficient and effective!

For more information, please call the Parking Division at 705-742-7777, ext. 2802.

Maintenance standards

We follow the provincial guidelines set under the Municipal Act, 2001, O. Reg. 239/02: Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways. The regulations categorize and prioritize roads based on traffic volumes and speed limits – the greater the volume of traffic and the greater the speed limit on the roads, the greater the priority for snow and ice clearing. The guidelines also include standards for the winter maintenance of bike lanes along roads and sidewalks.

Winter questions

Why do plows have to fill in my driveway? Can the City clear it?

Public Works maintains 958 lane kilometres of road in Peterborough.  When a snowstorm hits the city, crews and equipment are deployed with the primary objective of keeping streets open. Snow plows clear streets from the centre of the street to the curb. Plow drivers can not control the amount of snow that leaves the end of the wing plow. All residents in the City of Peterborough are responsible for the removal of driveway windrows as the City does not provide this service. 

Why does a larger amount of snow get left in my driveway than in my neighbour’s?

This is a common question from residents with driveways that are around bends or to the right of an intersection. The reason being the turning motion of the vehicle has a funnel effect on the snow coming off the end of plow and wing. This build up of snow is deposited in the first break, often the first driveway, encountered after the plow straightens out. The plow moves snow from the centre of the road to the side of the road only. 
Why does the city leave a large pile of snow in our Cul-de-sac? 

To deal with heavy snowfall, cul-de-sac clearing is performed in two steps. The first step is the snowplow will clear the cul-de-sac to open up the roadway and clear as much snow as possible. In some cul-de-sac or dead ends the truck is limited to what it can do, due to its maneuverability.  The second step takes place after it has stopped snowing; front-end loaders are sent to clean up as required.

Areas where snow is stored depends on the unique make-up of each cul-de-sac and varies in each an every location.

I live on a residential street – why does it seem that my street is always the last street to be plowed? 
The plowing operation is based upon a hierarchy system wherein plows are first deployed to clear the main, arterial and collector roads, and followed by local residential roads. Since hospitals, emergency services (police, ambulance and fire services) and high volume traffic flows are all on arterial roads the hierarchy services to facilitate essential services while maintaining compliance with legislated Maintenance Standards. Routes are optimised to make operation as efficient as possible and simply when it comes to residential streets someone will be first and someone will be last.
In storms that are long in duration it is not uncommon for plows to have to address arterial and collector roads numerous times to keep them open before moving into residential streets.
Why can’t the road plows and sidewalk plows be coordinated to travel routes together to prevent snow filling in sidewalks? 
Sidewalk routes are designed similar to road priorities. Routes are designed to address arterial and collector roads first, along with streets with schools or hospitals. Although they are set up that way a number of factors come into play that can affect the timing of operations. The City does not have an equal number of road and sidewalk plows, which means we do not have one sidewalk plow for every road plow. Hazards and barriers that exist near sidewalks also contribute to slower operation speeds which can decrease speeds again with large amounts of snow or ice.
Why aren’t all of the sidewalks plowed yet?
We currently have 399 kilometre lanes of sidewalk within the City of Peterborough with 9 plow units available for deployment.  At any time, we can experience mechanical failure, extreme weather conditions, etc. that limit the functioning of this crew.  It will typically take 48 hours to complete all sidewalk routes after the last precipitation has fallen.
Why does the sidewalk plow come down my street when the sidewalk is bare?
Although the sidewalk near your address appears bare there may be areas of spot ice present elsewhere in the City. City sidewalk plows drive the route in their entirety to treat areas of concern with materials. 
The sidewalk plow missed the sidewalks and damaged my lawn. Who will do the repairs?
Unfortunately, lawn damage does occur sometimes during winter maintenance operations. If damage does occur you can call us to assess the damage. City crews are deployed in the spring to tidy any sod that was damaged.
The catch basin is plugged in front of my house with snow, why hasn’t the City cleared the snow?
With 6,000 catch basins in the city it is impossible for Public Works to clear them all when melting occurs. It is appreciated and recommended that homeowner assist by keeping the catch basin in front of their home clear to prevent flooding to their property.
Will the City remove high snow banks near my driveway?
No, residents are responsible for maintaining and clearing their driveways, ensuring proper sight lines and ensuring they can safely access and exit their driveway.

As a reminder, it is illegal to deposit snow on the roadway from your driveway, parking lots, private property and it is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act.  

Winter storms

Winter storms typically involve a combination of heavy snowfall, cold temperatures and high winds. This can result in whiteouts and large amounts of drifting and blowing snow.
 Use online tools to regularly check for weather-related information.

Keep safe

  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing, mittens and a hat (preferably one that covers ears).
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and to prevent slipping on ice and snow.
  • Regularly check for frostbite — this can result in numbness or white areas on the face and body (ears, nose, cheeks, hands and feet).
  • Take frequent breaks to avoid overexertion when shovelling snow.
  • Bring pets inside and move livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

Ice storms

Ice storms occur when raindrops freeze on contact with a cold surface. The buildup of ice on surfaces creates unsafe conditions, such as downed trees and powerlines, slippery sidewalks and roads.

Before and during ice storms

  • Monitor media, the City’s website and social media for information
  • Stay off the road and avoid unnecessary travel – wait until salting operations have been completed and roads have been cleared of debris
  • Monitor weather forecasts
  • Have an emergency kit
  • Stay clear of downed trees and powerlines
  • Use a fireplace to keep warm
  • Evacuate the home if there is no longer any means to stay warm
  • Watch for signs of broken water pipes
If there is a power outage visit Hydro One's power outage page for safety tips.