City of Waterloo Snow Clearing Priorities for City Trails and Pathways

December 19, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The City of Waterloo has released its snow removal policies and here they are for your information. Timely clearing of snow and ice, along with the appropriate use of salt are highlighted. ture post.

Snow clearing priorities for city trails and pathways

Clearing and salting begins on uptown and commuter trails with a minimum of 5 cm of snowfall. Although salting can start before as conditions warrant. The following priority trails are cleared first as they connect people to major transportation networks:

•    Spurline Trail
•    Iron Horse Trail
•    Laurel Trail

Once staff have cleared this priority network of commuting routes, other city-cleared sidewalks, trail links and park pathways are cleared. As with roads, the main arteries are a priority and may require multiple passes before moving into secondary areas for clearing during extended snow events.

Private property owners, contractors and city staff are involved with winter snow removal operations throughout the city. Please be aware of where you place snow as it may impact the adjacent properties or the people trying to move between areas. Never place snow on the roadway to ensure the safety of road and cycling lane users.

Region of Waterloo's separated bike lane pilot project

The Region of Waterloo has identified and designed a network of separated cycling facilities as a pilot project. The network, measuring approximately five kilometres, includes linkages along University Avenue, Columbia Street, King Street, Albert Street and Erb Street with connecting links along the Laurel Trail through Waterloo Park. With the goal of encouraging more people to cycle within the Region of Waterloo, the project will be tested over the course of an 18-month period beginning October, 2019. Over the course of the pilot, the Region will be monitoring and evaluating cyclist use in the corridor, safety for all road users and vehicular traffic and travel in the area. For more information visit the Region of Waterloo's project web page.

Learn more about what you can do to reduce salt use on your property...

Waterloo Region relies on groundwater for drinking water. Over time, the salt we put on the ground can end up in our drinking water and cause it to taste salty. After the salt melts the ice, it doesn't go away. It may soak into the ground to mix with groundwater (our drinking water) or enter a storm basin that connects with the local waterway. Help keep salt out of water:

•    Shovel or plow snow as soon as you can before it packs down and turns to ice
•    Break up ice with a steel chopper and then clear away ice with a shovel
•    Add traction when needed with sand, grit or non-clumping kitty litter
•    If salt is required, sprinkle small amounts on icy areas only and give it time to work before clearing the ice

Learn more at

Salt use

As part of the city's commitment to environmental protection, a salt management program is in place. As part of this program, city staff apply liquid salt brine onto the roadways before a snow event to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement. This makes snow removal more efficient because less salt is required in order to return roads to bare pavement.

Winter weather and road conditions are monitored by the city's operations staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are a number of factors including temperature, forecasts and precipitation that determine how and when plowing, salting or sanding take place.

Roads are classified by traffic volumes according to provincial criteria and the city must achieve quality standards that are consistent across the province. Each snow plow is assigned a designated area of the city and clearing is carried out on the basis of the following priorities:

Priority one: regional roads and main arteries (such as King Street or Columbia Street) remain a priority at all times. Plows begin clearing when there is five centimetres of fallen snow. During extended snow events, priority routes may require multiple passes before moving into secondary areas for clearing. When conditions allow, staff move into the residential areas for clearing.

Priority two: major collector/bus routes (such as Regina Street or Bearinger Road) are cleared when eight centimetres of snow has fallen.

Priority three: residential streets (such as Westvale or Northlake Drive) are cleared when eight centimetres of snow has fallen. Cul-de-sacs such as Beckwith Court are cleared when 10 centimetres of snow has fallen.

Visit to find the plowing priority assigned to your street.

           Snow events and street parking bans

It is impossible to properly plow streets when they are blocked by cars. When credible weather forecasts predict a significant snowfall, a snow event is declared. During these periods, parking is prohibited on city streets. Vehicles parked on city streets can be towed and fined up to $80.

We also disable our overnight parking service to prevent registrations. Residents are encouraged to subscribe to the city's service alert news feed or follow the city on Twitter or Facebook to determine if a parking ban has been declared. Weather dependent, the city grants up to 15 overnight parking exemptions per year. You must register prior to 1:30 a.m. by calling 519-747-8559 or registering at



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