Winter conditions create challenges for both pedestrians and motorists. The Town of Whitby's main objective is to address the snow and ice on roads, sidewalks, and parking lots so that residents can travel throughout the Town is a safe and efficient manner during the winter months.
The primary objectives of the winter control program are:
- To reduce the hazards of winter road and sidewalk conditions to motorists and pedestrians,
- Reduce economic loss to the community and industry caused by inability to access the workplace,
- Facilitate the handling of emergencies by fire and police officials,
- Maintain safe, passable school bus and public transit routes,
- Adhere to the Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS) as defined by the Provincial Government.
To learn more about Whitby's winter control program and snow removal information, the following information is provided.
Winter Control Level of Service Standards
The Town is responsible for sanding, salting, plowing, and snow removal for 1,121 lane kilometers of roads. In order to be aware of forecasted weather, the Town receives dedicated Whitby weather forecasts each day throughout the winter season. Staff reviews the required forecasts and identifies the response needed before the storm hits. The response may include patrolling the roads or dispatching winter maintenance equipment. Each snow event is unique and different areas of the Town can receive varying amounts of rain, snow, or ice. Extreme weather and prolonged storms may prevent the roadways from being cleared quickly even with the best efforts of the crews. The unique characteristics of a storm determine the response actions or approaches to be taken. This means that the timeline required for the final storm cleanup is difficult to predict in advance. Where a particular street falls in the operator's route will affect the timing of the service required.
The Town's roads are divided into road classes that range from 1 through 6. These Classes are established by the posted speed limits and Average Annual Daily Trips (AADT). Class 1 is the highest priority having the most vehicles travelled, and Class 6 is very lightly travelled.
Examples of Road Classes;
Class 1 - Baldwin Street (section of Highway #12)
Class 2 - Dundas Street, Brock Street
Class 3 - Anderson Street, Garden Street, Garrard Road, Carnwith Drive
Class 4 - Arthur Street, Watford Street, Valleywood Drive, Athol Street
Class 5 - Beech Street, Cedarbrook Drive, Gladiola Court, Lloyd Street
Class 6 - Ontario Street (Myrtle Station), Front Street (Myrtle Station), Evensong Drive, Galt Street, Grand Truck Street
When snow accumulation on roads reaches a specific height, action is taken within the time frame as per the following table:
| Class of Highway
|| Depth of Snow
|| Time to Address
|| 4 hours
|| 5 cm
|| 8 cm
|| 8 cm
|| 10 cm
|| 10 cm
|| Once all others have been completed
When the snow continues to fall and accumulate, return trips are needed to comply with the above guidelines.
For situations where the road becomes icy, once the municipality is aware, resources must be deployed according to the following timelines:
| Class of Highway
||Time to Address
||Once all others have been completed
- After 5 cm of snow accumulation, plowing of Class 1 sidewalks commences with priority given to the downtown areas and school crossings
- After 8 cm of snow accumulation, plowing of Class 2 sidewalks commences
- Sidewalk ramps at intersections blocked by snow plows pushing back the snow banks are re-plowed
Map of Town-Maintained Sidewalks
Seniors/Disabled Windrow Program
- For registered clients, the seniors/disabled windrow clearing program commences after the sidewalks have been cleared and within 36 hours after the snowfall ends. This timeframe may be reset in the event of a back-to-back storm that requires re-plowing of the Class 1 and 2 sidewalks.
- The sidewalk in front of each registered client's home is plowed after 5 cm of snow has fallen.
- The sidewalk and snow windrow are cleared after 10 cm of snow has fallen.
Note: For more information or to register for the seniors/disabled windrow program, read our Snow and Windrow Clearing Services page.
Town Parking Lots
- After 5 - 8 cm of snow accumulation, the main aisles of parking lots are treated and or cleared to facilitate access.
- Complete plowing of the parking lot is scheduled after the snowstorm has ended and is timed for when the lot is either in a no-use or low-use period.
Clearing of driveways, including the snow windrow left by plows (road and or sidewalk), is the responsibility of the property owner. Depending on the length and severity of a storm, residents living on arterial and collector roads may have to clear driveway windrows a number of times as the plows may be required to make multiple passes during the storm. All property owners/occupants are responsible for the clearing of ice and snow from the sidewalk fronting and/or flanking their property.
Avoid parking on the streets during a snowstorm and in the days following a snowstorm. Parked cars interfere with snow plowing operations, and the resulting snow windrow negatively impacts traffic operations. Plows are required to re-plow these areas resulting in additional costs and further inconvenience for your neighbours who must clear their driveway windrows again. Vehicles interfering with winter control operations are subject to an immediate ticket and/or towing.
How You Can Assist
- Remove debris and snow from any catch basin inlet near or adjacent to your property.
- Do not push or blow snow from your property back onto the street. This is not only dangerous but a contravention under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. The Durham Regional Police can issue tickets for this violation. Please pile snow on your property or on the boulevard.
- Pile snow on the right side of your driveway (as you face the street) so that cleared snow does not get moved back into your driveway by the snow plow. During snow clearing operations, plow operators cannot lift the plow blade every time they approach a driveway.
- Reduce the height of the snow bank by shoveling the snow back further onto your property. This improves visibility when entering or exiting your driveway.
- Expose fire hydrants that become buried by snow banks and drifting snow. Please contact the Region of Durham at 905.655.3344 if you have any questions regarding fire hydrants.
Transit Shelters and Super Mailboxes
Snow clearing at Transit bus shelters and bus stops is the responsibility of the Region of Durham. Please contact the Durham Region Transit Authority at 905.579.2471 if you have any questions regarding transit.
Canada Post is responsible for clearing snow away from super mailbox areas. Please contact Canada Post at 1.800.607.6301 if you have any questions.
Snow Clearing Contacts
During and after a snowstorm, the municipality receives many phone calls. During these periods, staff at the Operations Centre are busy dealing with snow clearing operations. If you are calling about a non-emergency situation, your patience is requested as these calls tie up our phone system and staff resources unnecessarily.
- Roads/Sidewalk/Parking Lot snow information: 905.668.3437
- Seniors/Disabled snow information: 905.668.1424 x6222
- Fire Hydrants - Region of Durham: 905.655.3344
- Transit Shelters/Bus Stops snow clearing - Region of Durham: 905.579.2471
- Mail Boxes snow clearing - Canada Post: 1.800.607.6301
Tips for Safe Winter Driving
- Drive according to weather and road conditions. Remember it takes longer to stop on a slippery road, so use extra caution when approaching an intersection with a stop sign or traffic lights. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you by using the 2-second rule as a minimum standard for spacing between vehicles.
- Snow on roads may become hard packed and as slippery as ice. Snow build up can also result in rutting, which impacts the ability to manoeuvre. Wet snow can make for slushy roads that can build up in car wheel wells and affect steering. Extra caution needs to be taken to adjust for these road conditions.
- Ice can form on shaded areas, bridges, and overpasses earlier and last longer than on other road sections. Watch for frost or areas of the road that appear black and shiny as these conditions can cause your vehicle to lose traction.
- Snow and slush spray can be blown onto your vehicle by other vehicles causing a temporary loss of visibility. Leave extra room while driving and drive defensively.
- Blowing snow can reduce visibility and may require use of the vehicle's full lighting system even during daylight hours.
- Snow banks limit visibility, so be alert for pedestrians, persons with disabilities using assistive devices, and children playing.
- Maintain a safe distance behind snow plows and sanders when you see blue flashing lights. When working, these vehicles travel more slowly than normal traffic and sight lines can be reduced by blowing snow even at reduced plowing speeds. Snow plows are wider at the front than they appear from the back as the large blades extend a metre or more at the front of the truck and to the right of the snow plow into the right-hand lane. Passing a snow plow is dangerous due to the snow ridging and road conditions. The road surface is always better behind the plow than in front of it.
- In severe weather conditions, it is best to stay off the roads unless your trip is necessary.