Friday, January 23, 2015

What to do about those windrows

What is a windrow?

Fortunately, this winter Calgary hasn’t seen too many snowfalls. However, we have been hearing some concerns about the snow that is there and want to address them.

According to The City’s Snow and Ice Control Policy, crews are mandated to maintain the driving lane on residential streets to a safe, reasonable winter driving condition. Crews do this by “flat-blading,” turning the blade under a sander downward to flatten the snow to a hard pack so it is easier to drive on.

While this is good for motorists, the snow left over after crews have flat-bladed, can create some extra work for property owners. The reason is because flat-blading causes a continuous a build up of snow along the side of a roadway, also known a  windrow that can be difficult to remove, especially if left too long.

There is a windrow in front of my driveway, who’s clearing it?

The clearing of windrows in front of driveways left by snow plowing equipment is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, much like sidewalk shovelling. Plow operators make every attempt to keep driveways clear or keep windrows as small as possible, but any spillage that does occur is the responsibility of the property owner.

What does The City do about windrows?

City forces do their best to keep windrows small by evenly distributing the snow on either side of the road, however, after heavy snowfalls windrows can build up. If a windrow is taller than 30 centimetres and impeding a resident’s ability to enter their driveway a crew can come by and assess the windrow and remove if required.

Citizens should contact 311 if they have concerns about a windrow.

Visit for more information on how The City clears snow.


  1. Let's all remember the elderly and other neighbours who might have difficulty clearing these areas in front of their driveways and help them out.

  2. Our street was just fine until some City-owned plow crew had to find something to do to look busy. Now there a great pile of "cement snow" about two feet off my driveway. Release them to find a new purpose - we could use a tax reduction and avoid having to hire a jack hammer crew to clear snow that was happily compressing on the street. Yikes?!

  3. I'm a 59 year old single woman and have been shoveling these AND my roadway so that I can park out front for the past 10 years. I'm getting tired and I'm getting sore back, sore shoulder and sore neck and arms from shoveling all of this. I can't lift the ice and heavy snow that is peeled away or even the snow that adds up on the road. I didn't ever imagine that I would be doing the city's work...AND paying increased taxes. Funny though, although I wouldn't sign the petition at the time, 75% of residents signed a petition for river edged paths to be shoveled regularly so that the wealthy and privileged folk with the 'good' views could walk without hassle. I pay taxes on THAT service each year, but I'm out here, every single day, shoveling the road in front of my residence! Something is wrong with this story!!

  4. If my street EVER got cleared this would be interesting but it hasn't in the past and I do not believe it ever will in the future

  5. In front of my house, I will shovel that snow onto the grassy verge so it infiltrates and reduces stormwater impacts to the Bow River during the next melt. I tend to do this only when the windrows impede on-street parking and are soft enough to work with.

  6. So the City creates these concrete-like abutments with a grader, and we're supposed to chip at them and shovel them by hand? Why completely clear and remove the snow like most other major snow cities seem to be able to do?