City of Toronto Provides Post-Operation Report on Major Snow Events – City of Toronto

Press release

March 22, 2022

A report from City of Toronto staff presented to the infrastructure and environment committee on March 29 details the city’s response to the January 17 snowstorm, the snow clearing and removal challenges faced staff and crews and ongoing improvements to the city’s extreme winter preparedness and response plans.

On January 17, Toronto experienced a major winter storm that brought extremely cold temperatures, rapid snowfall and a snowfall of 55 cm – one of the ten largest snowfalls on record in Toronto. The speed of the snowfall was exceptional, falling at a rate of up to five centimeters per hour. A rate of one centimeter per hour is normally defined as heavy, and a total accumulation of 10 centimeters is considered a major snow event in a city like Toronto.

The Major Snow Events Post-Operations Report notes that preparations for the January storm began with pre-treatment of brine to prevent icing of all highways, arterials, and collector roads before the onset of the storm. A major snowstorm condition was declared on January 17 and lasted about a month. The storm required multiple rounds of snow removal on all roads, sidewalks and bike paths and required the removal of nearly 180,000 tonnes of snow. The City’s snow removal efforts alone cost more than $17 million, or about 20% of the Transportation Services Division’s annual winter maintenance budget.

The report details the challenges faced by the City as a result of the snowstorm, including supporting the immediate needs of emergency services and TTC vehicles, the ability to clear streets amid an extraordinary rate of snowfall, the strain on equipment due to the volume of snow, the need to provide manual clearing to avoid damage to infrastructure and property, in addition to the logistical challenge of removing and moving large volumes of snow as quickly as possible.

The report provides an update on implemented and planned improvements to the City’s winter weather preparedness and response plans. This includes the development of a severe winter weather response plan, a review of the City’s snow removal operations, a severe weather communication plan, working with the snow plow supplier to sidewalks to service expansion and equipment performance optimization, technology enhancements to PlowTO, and the ability to quickly scale 311 operations when needed.

Winter street maintenance in Toronto is a vital municipal service provided to residents and businesses by the Transportation Services Division, particularly for those with reduced mobility who are more impeded by snow and ice. Winter maintenance activities aim to ensure the safety and accessibility of the city’s road network and include salting and de-icing, snow removal or snow removal and snow removal. The 2022 winter maintenance budget for Transportation Services is approximately $89.2 million.

The staff report is available on the Toronto Meetings Management Information System.

Media technical briefing

City staff will be hosting a virtual technical media briefing on the Major Snow Events Post-Operations Report today from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Spokespersons from Transportation Services, Strategic Public and Employee Communications, Fleet Services and 311 Toronto will be in attendance.

Instructions for joining:

You can use a desktop computer or a mobile device (iOS or Android) to join the meeting. For a better user experience, it is recommended to download the WebEx Dating application for mobile devices (phone or tablet).

Meeting link: https://toronto.webex.com/toronto/j.php?MTID=md2fdebc41f147d087583789681f28dce

Meeting number: 2466 404 4284
Meeting password: TRATB

  1. Join a wired headphones
  2. Using your device, click the meeting number to join the meeting
  3. In the “Name” field, enter your first name, Last name and media
  4. Click it Join the meeting button
  5. If you are on a desktop computer, the meeting will prompt you to connect audio and video
    1. Select audio connection
      1. Choose “Call using computer” from the drop-down menu
    2. Select video connection
      1. Choose “No Video” from the drop-down menu
    3. Click on more options (under audio connection information)
    4. Click test to hear sound from speaker
    5. Speak to see microphone volume
    6. Click OK
  6. Click it Connect sound button
Contact by phone:

+1-416-915-6530 Canada toll free
+1-613-714-9906 Canada Toll Free (Ottawa)

Meeting access code: 246 640 44284
Meeting password: 87282 (from phones)

Dating Protocol:

Upon entering the meeting, you will be automatically muted.

The City will conduct a roll call prior to the start time of the meeting to conduct an audio check with each attendee and ask if attendees wish to ask any questions during the briefing. If you have any questions, you will be placed in the queue and called by name and point of sale when it’s your turn.

Please raise your virtual hand to ask a question. When you are called, the staff wakes you up and lowers your virtual hand. You can ask a question and a follow-up question during the first round of questions. If you have any additional questions, please raise your virtual hand again and the moderator will call you after the first round of questions is complete.

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