A report to Moose Jaw’s budget committee concerning the introduction of parking bans to better facilitate city snow removal services was the subject of considerable discussion during the committee’s meeting Tuesday evening.
The report suggested potential solutions to an ongoing issue for the city’s snow removal teams: the presence of parked cars on the shoulders of streets being plowed.
Suggestions ranged from the introduction of permanent no parking signs along designated arteries or the placement of temporary placards and delivery of letters informing residents of plowing operations on priority one and two streets.
Councillor Dawn Luhning took point for the budget committee, raising concerns about temporary signage.
“I don’t want temporary signs put up every year. Big cities like Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton actually have permanent signs on their streets,” said Coun. Luhning. “It’s not an issue of staff going out every time there’s a snow event and putting temporary signs on the poles.”
“To go out and slap up a sign every time you have a snowfall, to me, is really counterproductive,” added Councillor Candis Kirkpatrick. “What are we using these people for? How many times would they have been out there this winter, trying to get these signs up after the fact that people’s cars were already snowed in?”
Councillor Don Mitchell weighed in by suggesting the introduction of designated parking on one side of a street with the possibility of alternating that side of the street.
“Then in residential areas, people have the option of parking on the opposite side,” said Coun. Mitchell. “There is excess room to park if we were to designate one side, and most of the larger cities are doing that, but also Prince Albert. To me, that makes sense.”
Coun. Kirkpatrick suggested adapting a model used by other urban centres in the country.
“From the first snowfall, and here in my notes it’s until March 31 of every year — it doesn’t matter if there’s only a bit of snow on the ground — you will park one week on the north side of the street, and the next week on the south side of the street,” Coun. Kirkpatrick said. “It doesn’t matter if there’s snow on the ground. When the snowfall comes, the city can be assured that they’re going to be able to go down those streets and be able to clear one side of the street right to the sidewalk.”
Kirkpatrick suggested the rolling out of the plan to smaller sections of the city to test it out initially, and then expanding it if the program was successful.
“That’s the kind of thing that I’d like to see us try,” said Coun. Luhning. “I know nobody in Saskatchewan is doing something like that. ... I like the idea of doing some test sections around the city, and I know we’re going to have the opportunity to talk about this again tomorrow night ... That would be something I would be prepared to try and craft a motion (about).”
“Big cities like Ottawa and Montreal and Toronto do these kinds of things. I understand they have more resources and more employees, but I just think we could do things maybe a little differently and a little better,” she said. “But I would like some input, honestly, from administration as to what can be done with regard to parking bans.”
The city’s snow removal policies, and potential parking bans, will be further discussed during Wednesday’s budget meeting.