The City's 29 snowplows are big and work continuously during snowfalls to clear nearly 1,800 kilometres of road lanes. The City also has 15 sidewalk plows to clear snow from more than 600 km of sidewalk.
Road plowing priorities and service levels during normal winter conditions
- Arterial: For major and collector roads and major rural roads, the centre of road will be essentially clear as soon as possible after snowfall ends and, normally, within four hours.
- Collector and transit routes: For secondary collector roads and transit routes, the centre of road will be essentially clear as soon as possible after snowfall ends and, normally, within six hours.
- Residential: Local residential and minor hard-surfaced rural roads will be essentially cleared as soon as possible after snowfall ends and, normally, within 16 hours.
Sidewalk plowing priorities during normal winter conditions
- Arterial: For sidewalks and walkways adjacent to high-volume roadways and/or with high pedestrian volumes, the target is to make them safe and passable within 24 hours after the snowfall ends when possible.
- Residential: For the balance of sidewalks and walkways that can be cleared with mechanized equipment, the target is to make them safe and passable, within 48 hours after the snowfall ends when possible.
Declaring a significant weather event
The City may declare a winter weather event significant after reviewing a regional alert from Environment Canada and determining that the weather in Kingston warrants such a declaration. During a significant weather event, residents will be advised to use extra caution and will be reminded winter maintenance service levels for roads and sidewalks may not be met.
What makes a weather event significant?
Provincial legislation was updated in 2018 to allow municipalities to declare a "significant weather event" when it is expected winter maintenance service levels for sidewalks and roads may not be met.
A significant weather event is defined as an approaching or occurring weather hazard with the potential to pose a significant danger to the users of highways [streets] within a municipality. When a weather hazard is expected, Environment Canada will issue an alert under its Public Weather Alerting Program.
Become one of Kingston's Snow Angels
Snow neighbours you care: Keep the sidewalk in front of your home clear of snow and ice. And, if you are able, consider being a Snow Angel to a neighbour who may need your help. Have a Snow Angel? we can help you show them some love!
Kingston Fire & Rescue reminds you that keeping fire escapes, exit doors and fire hydrants clear of snow and ice helps saves lives.
Winter Parking Bylaw
No parking is allowed on city streets from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. and from 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. around Kingston General Hospital between December 1 and March 31. This overnight winter parking restriction allows snowplows to clear roads effectively.
- Drivers need room to do their job. Be patient and keep a safe distance from plows. When travelling behind a plow, leave at least three car lengths of distance between you and the plow.
- Do not drive beside a plow and NEVER pass a plow.
- If a plow is approaching from the opposite direction, shift to the right of your lane to give some extra leeway. Plows need to clear the centre of the road too.
- If you are on a multiple lane road (such as Gardiners Road) and there is a line of plows working, do not attempt to pass. Be patient and follow the plows at a safe distance.
- Pedestrians: if you see a snowplow, assume the driver has not seen you and move off the sidewalk into a yard where you can be seen.
- Parents: children should be reminded not to play on, or build forts, in roadside snowbanks and to not approach a plow, even if it has stopped.
Winter Operations Policy
The City's Winter Operations - Level of Service Policy outlines how the City responds to winter weather to help people, drivers and emergency vehicles move safely and efficiently around Kingston.