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UPDATE: Calgary Snow route ban in effect; favourable weather could aid clearing efforts

Favourable weather conditions and help from up north have Calgary officials optimistic they can get citizens back on the move in short order.

Record snowfall hit Calgary Tuesday and motorists were at a standstill across the city. Nearly 40 centimetres of snow fell on some areas, and because of the timing and massive short-term accumulation of snow, it left the city scrambling to recover.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday the city had implemented a snow route parking ban, and City of Calgary roads director Troy McLeod said help from civic partners, including Oilers-flag-flying trucks from Edmonton, are giving them the upper hand.

“With the support we’ve had from our partner agencies, like Edmonton, we will be able to get through our Priority one routes much quicker than normal – it’s a significant increase to our fleet with their help,” said McLeod.

“That will allow us to get on to the Priority twos in short order.”

McLeod said they do have the 72-hour window with the snow route parking ban, but he said they expect they’ll be done sooner than normal.

Calgary Parking Authority does have tag-and-town capabilities, McLeod said, and while they don’t have ticket numbers this early, there’s typically lower compliance with the first snow route ban of the season.

Calgary Transit’s Doug Morgan said buses are still slower on many routes as the city clears the primary bus routes. Some buses, especially in hilly areas, are on snow detours, requiring commuters to walk to those designated stops.

A handful of buses had gotten stuck Wednesday, but for the most part Morgan said Calgary Transit was gradually getting back to normal.

“It’s a much better day. But, certainly we have much more work to do to keep Calgarians moving,” Morgan said, noting that with this unique snow event they would be reviewing their operations and response to the situation.


Snow Route Parking Ban – Are you affected?

Calgary Road Conditions / Snow plows – What roads have been plowed and where are sanding trucks / graders?

Tom Sampson, Chief of Calgary’s Emergency Management Agency, fielded questions on available resources to handle the snow situation.

Sampson said he didn’t think it was correct to say Calgary didn’t have enough resources to handle the situation – they just handled it a different way. Barring the expensive acquisition of more plows, graders, sanders, that could sit idle during much of Calgary’s unpredictable winters, calling on others to help handle the situation was ideal.

“It shows financial prudence on behalf of the city. You can never have enough to manage anything that happens,” he said.

“When you have those extraordinary times… (This is) more responsible from a budgetary perspective.”

Sampson said that they’re grateful for the support of the City of Edmonton and they’ll be paying the tab for it – and giving them a little extra when they send them home.

“We’re tagging their units with Flames stickers right now,” quipped Sampson.

The Calgary police said that in 24 hours the number of collisions on city streets had dropped dramatically as citizens get used to winter driving.

From when the snow began Monday evening to 8 a.m. Wednesday, police responded to 320 non-injury crashes and 25 injury crashes.

“Three quarters of all those collisions we responded to were yesterday morning,” said Acting Sgt. Quentin Blindenbach, from the Calgary Police Service Major Events Emergency Management Section.

Blindenbach said what’s been reiterated to him through the CPS Duty Inspectors is the need for Calgarians to drive to the conditions, not to the speed limit.