Windrow removal trial starts Friday in Griesbach
City of Edmonton crews will be picking up windrows in a north-side residential neighbourhood as part of a trial starting Jan. 21.
The trial in Griesbach will help the city assess the process and cost of windrow removal in residential areas.
"They're big trucks. And some of those residential roads aren't designed to get those trucks into those residential areas, so we need to be strategic in where we trial this to make sure we can walk through and simulate some of those challenges, and then look at what are our alternatives?" explained the city's supervisor of field operations Andrew Grant.
"That's why we need to get into these areas and physically try it and see what some of the results will be."
According to Grant, Griesbach was chosen for the trial because it allows crews to test on a number of different types of roads.
Before the city decides to broaden the scope of the work or not, his teams need to know what is feasible with current resources.
Grant said planning work beyond the trial was still in early stages.
The Griesbach trial consists only of a select number of roads in the neighbourhood. No-parking signs are to be posted at least 24 hours in advance of crews hitting the streets.
Vehicles left in these areas will be towed to a nearby location at no cost to the owner.
Parking ban non-compliance continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing crews doing residential blading, Grant said.
While the supervisor noted a "small change in direction," he said many residents do not proactively move their vehicle and instead wait until crews are on their street.
"Our crews, at times, are held up while everyone gets their shoes on, gets out to their car, gets it scraped off and gets it moved."
As of Thursday morning, Grant estimated 45 per cent of residential blading had been completed.
'I EXPERIENCE THAT PAIN JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE'
Coun. Tim Cartmell said a 2021 report stated complete snow removal would cost approximately $205 million.
He thinks the city could get another $10 million on top of the $60 million it already has, but $200 million is "impossible."
"But, I would say that I don't know that we need $200 million. I think we need a windrow conversation about whether we actually do this on residential streets. But on arterial roads, we're going to be creating windrows. Should we have a conversation about picking those up immediately? Which would take a little bit more money."
Coun. Andrew Knack, who says he feels the pain like everyone else, agreed better service will cost more money, and noted the budget hasn't changed in about 15 years.
"So now that we've exhausted all the items that might've not cost additional money, I think it is now time we have to say if we want better service, and particularly one of the big topics that's coming up right now is the removal of windrows, that costs a large sum of money."
"The sheer volume of snow we've had this year has helped a lot of us take a step back and say you know, 10 years ago, we might've been OK with windrows… But I think we're at the point now where we maybe want a higher standard of service and actually see that removed."
Knack believes the Griesbach pilot project will help council have a better idea of how much money it would need to pick up windrows across the city before it makes long-term decisions.
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