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Winter Maintenance Zones
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Winter Maintenance Zones

One day a week, don’t park on your street.

Latest News

Maintenance Zones Activate Dec. 6

Find Your Zone

Winter Maintenance Zone Search

Watch Video

Introduction to Winter Maintenance Zones.

Policy Documents

Urban Ice and Snow Control Policy
Council approved an Urban Snow and Ice Control Policy (PRL – 150) at its Jan. 12, 2016 meeting.

Look for the Signs

Worker installs winter maintenance signage

A worker installs winter maintenance signage.

Towing and Impound Information

Vehicles parked in an active Winter Maintenance Zone will be ticketed and/or towed to the impound yard (see location map below). Parking violation fines as well as towing and storage fees are the responsibility of the vehicle owner.

Mobster Mechanical, an independent third-party company, will be performing towing services for Winter Maintenance Zones.

Parking violation fines: $120, which can be paid by visiting RMWB cashiers at the Jubilee Building (9909 Franklin Avenue) or Timberlea Landing Building (309 Powder Drive) Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Towing fees: $100 for cars, SUVs and pickups (quarter tons and half tons); $130 per hour for oversized vehicles such as one tons, tractor trailers/big rigs.

Storage fees: $30 per vehicle per day. Owners of towed vehicles will be charged $30 per vehicle per day starting on the day the vehicle is impounded. An additional $30 charge will be added at 7 a.m. each day until the vehicle is picked up.

Payment for towing and storage can be made through Mobster Mechanical.

Mobster Mechanical contact information:
Monday - Friday: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Weekends & Holidays: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Phone: 780-838-9595
Email: Towing@mobstermechanical.com

Maps

Winter Maintenance Impound Yard:

Map: Winter Maintenance Impound Yard

[The map above as a printable download.]

Winter Maintenance Zones overview:

Map: Winter Maintenance Zones

Winter Operations Manual:

Winter Operations Book Thumbnail

Winter Operations Manual (2015/2016)

Winter maintenance signage

Winter Maintenance Zones were created in Fort McMurray’s residential neighbourhoods to facilitate snow plowing and removal, as well as other routine maintenance while providing consistency to residents who need on-street parking. The program is based on feedback from the community for more regular service, consistent notification for parking restrictions, safer driving conditions and less snow buildup/rutting along residential streets.

All residential neighborhoods have been divided into five Winter Maintenance Zones, one for each weekday. From Oct. 15 to April 15, each neighborhood’s Zone will be active on the same weekday, every week. On the day that each Zone is active, crews will plow the streets, clear any snow they may have placed on sidewalks and perform other routine maintenance as required to maintain safe, accessible roadways for residents, emergency vehicles, transit, and municipal equipment. To assist in this process, on-street parking is not available along residential streets in each Zone on the day that it is active.

If you park along residential streets, this maintenance program could affect you.

Signage has been posted in each residential neighbourhood highlighting the weekday that on-street parking is restricted. If you rely on on-street parking, you are encouraged to identify your zone and make any necessary arrangements to find alternative parking for the weekday when your zone is active.

There are fees associated with non-compliance. If a vehicle remains parked in a Winter Maintenance Zone on the assigned day of snow removal/road maintenance, a Notice of Violation will be placed on the vehicle and it will be towed to an impound lot. The fine for the Notice of Violation is $120 as per our Roads and Transportation Bylaw (No. 02/079), and in addition there will be significant fees to store and remove the vehicle from the impound lot.

Towing services are provided by an independent third party company. Should your vehicle be towed, it will be taken to an impound lot located by the Water Treatment Plant off Silin Forest Road located on the west side of the Athabasca Bridge.

Our priority is to clear a safe path for residents, as well as emergency vehicles and municipal equipment so they can provide their services to the community. We would rather educate motorists of on-street parking restrictions than ticket and tow vehicles. In order to save yourself time and money, please familiarize yourself with the Winter Maintenance Zone information for your area of residence and work (if applicable). All the information you need can be found here on our website.

Winter Maintenance Zones FAQ

Q: What day does the Winter Maintenance Zone program start this year (2016)?

A: Signage posted around Fort McMurray outlines a time frame of Oct. 15 to April 15. This year, the program is scheduled to start on Monday, Oct. 17, because Oct. 15 falls on a Saturday and the WMZ program is only in effect during weekdays. 

April 15, 2017 falls on a Saturday. Should the WMZ program run its full course, it will end on Friday, April 14, pending weather conditions.

Q: What if there is no snow? Can I park in my Zone when it is activated but there is no snow to clear?

A: Once Winter Maintenance Zones are activated at the beginning of the season, on-street parking restrictions will be in effect on their scheduled day and time even if there is no snow. Crews perform other routine maintenance besides snow clearing to keep your streets safe and clear throughout winter. So even when there is no snow, crews will still be working in your Zone.

Q: What’s the rationale for creating Winter Maintenance Zones?

A: Through the public engagement process, we asked the community for feedback online and at events held throughout Fort McMurray between October 2014 and November 2014, and in May 2015, to get their input for improving winter maintenance standards and services. One common theme was that residents were in favour of increased residential area plowing, combined with on-street parking restrictions to allow for the improved snow and ice control work.

After the first season of Winter Maintenance Zones in the 2015/2016 season, we went back to the community to get feedback on the program. See our Public Engagement Summary for details and results of the engagement sessions and survey.

Q: How will Winter Maintenance Zones be an improvement from past years?

A: Winter Maintenance Zones will allow city road crews to provide regular, timely service in all of Fort McMurray’s residential neighborhoods. . By clearing the roads regularly, we will be able to maintain road access to your homes for emergency vehicles, transit and municipal equipment, as well as provide for a higher level of safety for drivers.

Q: Do Winter Maintenance Zones apply to me?

A: Winter Maintenance Zones apply to Fort McMurray’s residential streets. Residential streets include lightly trafficked streets such as Birch Road, Diefenbaker Drive, and Hillcrest Drive. Signage indicates when your street’s Winter Maintenance Zone is in effect. Check signage along your street to know your zone.

Snow plows regularly clear a number of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary routes throughout Fort McMurray. Winter Maintenance Zones do not apply to Primary, Secondary or Tertiary routes. These routes are prioritized based on traffic volume, usage and location within the transportation system. These routes are maintained more than once a week as appropriate and do not apply to the Winter Maintenance Zone schedule.

On-street parking may be permitted along Primary, Secondary and Tertiary routes. Check for signage along these routes to see if parking is permitted before parking your vehicle, as other parking restrictions may apply. Locate residential streets and Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary routes by viewing the Winter Operations Manual.

Although condos and private property are not directly affected by Winter Maintenance Zones – condo corporations and private owners are responsible for their respective properties – on-street parking restrictions for the program apply to all residents since they still be affected if parked on the street while visiting friends or family, or out doing regular activities.

Q: What if there is no snow? Will Winter Maintenance Zones be active from October 15 until April 15?

A: Residents should always plan for WMZs to be active during the time frame posted on signage along residential streets throughout Fort McMurray. The signage indicates that the Winter Maintenance Zones come into effect every year on Oct. 15 and are taken out of service on April 15 of the following year.

This time frame (Oct. 15 – April 15) has been put in place as it reflects a typical winter season in our region. Those dates have also been established to provide residents with clear and consistent timing for on-street parking restrictions and allow for planning to make other parking arrangements.

Should winter maintenance not be necessary during the posted time frame, there is a possibility that parking restrictions could be relaxed temporarily. Announcements will be made and updates will be posted on our website and social media to inform residents.

Q: Will Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways be included in the Winter Maintenance program?

A: Yes, they are included in the program. As the neighbourhoods of Abasand and Beacon Hill have opened up for green homes and cleanup is underway, there will be both residential and commercial traffic in those areas. Winter Maintenance Zones will activate as per the posted signage to keep streets clear and safe for traffic, pedestrians, transit and emergency vehicles.

As for Waterways, Winter Maintenance Zones will be active to keep streets clear and safe for cleanup activities and emergency vehicles.

Q: How do I know when my Zone is active?

A: There are five Winter Maintenance Zones, one for each weekday. Your Zone will be active for the same weekday every week from Oct. 15 – April. 15 from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Check the signage posted along your street, use our Find Your Zone search tool or check the maps in the Winter Operations Manual to find your Zone and the weekday when on-street parking restrictions are active in your neighbourhood.

Q: How will I know if my Zone has been relaxed?

A: The program dates (Oct. 15 to April 15) have been established to provide residents with clear and consistent timing for on-street parking restrictions and allow for planning to make other parking arrangements.

As a means of providing consistency for residents, the Municipality will endeavor NOT to relax Zones, except for the winter holiday season from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1.

Should Winter Maintenance Zones be relaxed, announcements will be made and updates will be posted on our website and social media to inform residents. In addition, residents are encouraged to monitor electronic variable signage throughout Fort McMurray. Important messaging is posted on those signs for many different initiatives including WMZs.

Q: Are Winter Maintenance Zones relaxed for holidays?


A: WMZs will be relaxed during the Christmas holiday season from Dec. 24 - Jan. 1, but they will NOT be relaxed during any other holidays that fall on a weekday between Oct. 15 and April 15.

Q: If the snowplow has already made its pass through my neighbourhood, is on-street parking permitted within the restricted times from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.?

A: No. When your zone is active, on-street parking is not permitted during the hours posted on signage throughout your neighbourhood (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Further maintenance may be required other than street plowing or sidewalk clearing. The signage is also intended to provide consistency for residents who rely on on-street parking.

Q: I rely on on-street parking. What are my other options?

A: Winter Maintenance Zones will only be active on one weekday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Since neighbourhoods have different activation dates, you’ll be able to make advance arrangements to move your vehicles if necessary. Parking alternatives include driveways, garages, or even try sharing a parking space with a neighbour or friend.

Additional parking can be found in Public Parking Lots around Fort McMurray. Residents are reminded to check signage in public parking lots, and that overnight parking is not permitted.

On-street parking may be available along Primary, Secondary and Tertiary routes when your Winter Maintenance Zone is active. Snow plows regularly clear a number of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary routes throughout Fort McMurray. Winter Maintenance Zones do not apply to these routes, and there may be some on-street parking available along Primary routes (red), Secondary routes (blue) and Tertiary routes (green). Check out our Winter Operations Manual to locate the routes in your neighbourhood.

Other parking restrictions may apply along these routes, so watch for any posted signage.

Q: What’s the penalty for on-street parking while my Winter Maintenance Zone is active?

A: Residents are responsible for complying with parking regulation as set out in the Roads and Transportation Bylaw No. 02/079. Vehicles parked in an active Winter Maintenance Zone could be ticketed and/or towed to an impound yard. Parking tickets and towing fees are the responsibility of the vehicle owner.

More information about penalties can be found above under Towing and Impound Information.

Q: My vehicle has been towed from an active Winter Maintenance Zone. Where is my vehicle and how much will it cost to retrieve it?

A: The fine for a Notice of Violation is $120 for parking in an active Winter Maintenance Zone. In addition, vehicles will be towed to an impound lot located by the Water Treatment Plant off Silin Forest Road located on the west side of the Athabasca Bridge.

Mobster Mechanical, an independent third-party company, will be performing towing services for Winter Maintenance Zones. The Municipality will not be performing this function. Residents needing information about a towed vehicle can contact Mobster Mechanical directly.

Mobster Mechanical contact information:

Monday - Friday: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Weekends & Holidays: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Phone: 780-838-9595
Email: Towing@mobstermechanical.com

Q: What happens to the money collected from ticketing and towing/impounding vehicles?

A: Ticketing revenue associated to bylaw operations and violation tickets issued are collected through the Municipal Law Enforcement. Funds from ticketing revenue are returned to the Municipality’s general revenue, which are then used to support municipal programs.

An independent third-party company, performs towing/impound services for Winter Maintenance Zones. The Municipality does not perform this function and therefore does not generate revenue from towing/impound services.

Q: Can I park in my alleyway when my Winter Maintenance Zone is active?

A: No, you cannot. As per our Roads and Transportation Bylaw No. 02/079, parking in alleyways is not permitted in order to provide access for emergency response vehicles.

Q: Will Winter Maintenance Zones affect on-street parking when I take my kids to school?

A: Winter Maintenance Zones apply to residential streets only. Schools are located along Secondary routes, and Winter Maintenance Zones do not apply in these areas. Check out the Winter Operations Manual to locate our priority routes in comparison to residential streets.

Q: Do Winter Maintenance Zones apply to both sides of the street?

A: Yes they do. Vehicles need to be clear from both sides of the street to allow our maintenance equipment to enter and safely clear the entire street.

Q: I have an RV/mobile home. Do on-street parking restrictions apply to me too?

A: Yes they do. Vehicles need to be clear from both sides of the street to allow our maintenance equipment to enter and safely clear the entire street.

Q: Why do crews leave a windrow at the end of my driveway?

A: When crews perform snow plowing, snow is plowed to the right-hand side to clear roads and keep them safe. With more regular residential plowing activities during the Winter Maintenance Zone program, residents may notice small windrows accumulating along the sides of roads and at the end of their driveway.

It has always been residents’ responsibility to clear snow from their driveways, including the windrow at the end of their driveway. This approach has been modelled on best-practices from other municipalities in Alberta.

Residents are encouraged to clear snow from their driveway a short time after snowfall or road maintenance. As we live in a northern community, sub-zero temperatures are common and can make the snow harder to clear as the temperatures drop.

Q: What part do I play in snow and ice clearing?

A: Residents are still responsible to clear their sidewalks in accordance with Roads and Transportation Bylaw No. 02/079. Crews will clear any snow that they place on sidewalks during winter maintenance.

Residents are also responsible to clear snow from their driveways, including the windrow at the end of their driveway. This approach has been modelled on best-practices from other municipalities in Alberta.

Q: If any vehicles are remaining on my street when my zone is active, how will that affect maintenance?

A: As our equipment is quite large, a lot of space is needed to get into residential streets and perform maintenance. Even one or two vehicles left along the street could cause delays and create challenges for maintaining the entire zone on its given weekday. Some streets are narrower than others, and even the smallest vehicle can completely block maintenance equipment from entering and performing their work.

Q: Will you be putting snow on my front lawn while plowing streets? Could this kill my grass?

A: The reality of a weekly plowing program is that some snow will be pushed up on to lawns and municipal right-of-ways to clear a path for traffic. This is in line with best practices of other Alberta municipalities and is a necessary part of the solution. When feasible, available crews will come in to remove this accumulated snow.

With regular lawn maintenance in the spring, your lawn should come back as green as ever.

Q: I rent a basement suite, where am I supposed to park?

A: If you rely on on-street parking, you will need to arrange for alternative parking when your Zone is active. Our website lists some potential options for parking alternatives.

Parking requirements for basement suites follow the guidelines outlined in the Land Use Bylaw under sections 53 and 130.9. The parking requirements for a legally permitted basement suite are one (1) on-site stall for each bedroom to a maximum of two (2) on-site stalls. The existing residence requires two (2) on-site parking stalls. Any parking for a basement suite is in addition to the parking requirements for the existing residence.

Q: I live in a condo. How do Winter Maintenance Zones apply to me?

A: Condo corporations are responsible for snow and ice control on their respective properties. However, Winter Maintenance Zones apply to all residents since condo owners could still be affected if parked on the street while visiting friends or family, or out doing regular activities.

Q: I heard that Council is reviewing a new enhanced residential snow-clearing policy. When will it take effect?

A: Council approved an updated Urban Snow and Ice Control Policy (PRL – 150) on Jan. 12, 2016.

The purpose of the Urban Snow and Ice Control Policy is to set winter snow and ice control standards to ensure that municipal roads and sidewalks are maintained to reduce hazards and economic loss, prioritize safe access for emergency vehicles and transit, and provide guidelines for management and operating personnel in the handling of winter maintenance operations.

The new policy is based on the previous policy that was adopted in 2010. Updates to the new policy include establishing weekly residential plowing on a designated day – Winter Maintenance Zones – and enhancing priorities for sidewalk snow removal along major routes for students, and along Primary and Secondary Routes. This new policy for Urban Snow and Ice Control is the culmination of the Municipality’s commitment to residents to provide enhanced winter maintenance and safer driving conditions in the winter season.

Q: I am a senior and need assistance clearing snow from my driveway. What can I do?

A: The Snow Angels Program, a volunteer service, is available for seniors 65 years and older. To register, contact Caitlyn Evans by calling at 780-743-7917 or emailing caitlyn.evans@rmwb.ca.

Q: Whom can I contact about winter maintenance?

A: You can email us at streets.resource@rmwb.ca, call the Roads Hotline 780-743-7859, or call the Pulse: Wood Buffalo Call Line at 780-743-7000.

Wildfire Rebuild  [Learn more]

Winter Maintenance Zones in Effect [Learn more]