Calgary's latest snow route parking ban is to be lifted at 6 p.m. Monday, 16 hours ahead of schedule — but opinion on the street is divided about whether it was worth the trouble considering no one was towed.
The city issued 1,920 tickets between 10 a.m. Saturday — when the latest snow ban went into effect — and noon Monday to owners who failed to move vehicles from the routes marked by a blue sign with a snowflake.
The final numbers are expected to be slightly lower than the Feb. 5th parking ban which saw 2,945 tickets issued in just 46 hours.
The parking bans are enacted to allow city crews to clear snow from the snow routes, which include Priority 1 routes like Crowchild Trail and Priority 2 routes such as Acadia Drive and Kensington Road.
"We had every available officer dedicated to snow route enforcement during this ban. It is our hope that every car would move off the snow route," Kevin Bulmer, enforcement coordinator with the Calgary Parking Authority, said in a release issued Monday afternoon.
"Thousands of vehicles did comply and that made the snow clearing efforts more effective."
Critics question why city didn't tow any vehicles
But the city drew some fire for not following through on the threat to tow vehicles left in the snow routes.
No vehicles were towed during the current parking ban or the previous one.
"They're really good at ticketing everybody, but to get the cars out of there, they fall short," said frustrated Calgary resident Jay Smith.
"So, they ticket, they don't move them. Nothing gets done. No snowplow."
He wasn't the only one speaking out about the lack of towing during this snow route parking ban or a previous one last week.
On some snow routes, vehicles left parked on the street have prevented crews from clearing away very much snow.
But another Calgary resident, Peter Jackson, said he thinks the city is handling the situation the right way.
"It's a conundrum. What are you going to do? There's a cost to the city to tow all those vehicles, as well as a cost to the citizens to retrieve them," he said.
Crews to move to residential areas when main routes finished
Biensch asked the public to be patient as crews are working on a priority system that, he points out, "is reset every time it snows."
He said there are 49 sanders and 24 graders working on roadways, with 48 staff with small equipment working on pedestrian facilities such as steps, walks and pedestrian overpasses.
Once crews finish work on the main routes Tuesday, they'll move down into the residential areas to ensure all roads are passable.
"We have had more snow this month than any February in past five years and we are only 12 days in," he said.
"Our snow clearing plan, which normally lasts seven days, has been active for 15 consecutive days due to multiple snow events. I would like to recognize city crews for their dedicated efforts during this time and all Calgarians for their support and patience as we work to get the job done."
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