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Winter parking bans here to stay as COVID-19 persists, but city says more free parking options to come

The City of Ottawa is anticipating more people working from home, meaning more cars parked on streets and possibly more confusion on what will and won’t be allowed during parking bans. 
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Sunday, January 19 – City crews continue to clean up as snow continues into the evening. Dani-Elle Dube/OttawaMatters.com

Ottawa’s already had a few flurries in recent forecasts, meaning winter is well on its way. So what does that mean for snow plowing operations during this COVID winter?

Well, the City of Ottawa is anticipating more people working from home, meaning more cars parked on streets and possibly more confusion on what will and won’t be allowed during parking bans. 

On Monday, councillors will hear during the transportation committee what the city and its residents can expect during the upcoming winter season, which include new practices and new free parking areas for drivers during those bans.

According to the agenda and the accompanying documents on the city’s website, residents can still expect winter weather parking bans to be put in place when necessary as the public works and environmental services department still plans to utilize them in order to get city streets cleaned. 

“Winter weather parking bans are a vital process as they allow staff to get closer to the curb to clear snow not only from the roadway, but also catch basins,” public works said. “This results in less snow and ice build up and less cause for water pooling.”

As well, if streets are free of vehicles then staff are able to complete the snow clearing effectively and will not have to return to re-clear roadways, which saves time and money, they add. 

New this year, however, by-law and regulatory services staff have developed communications in partnership with roads and parking services. This will encourage residents to reach out within their communities to neighbours, friends or businesses to make arrangements for alternative parking. 

City staff will also reach out to larger landlords across the city asking if they can provide free parking during parking bans, or at least let residents use their visitor parking spots during the hours of the parking bans. 

The city will also continue to provide free overnight parking at select city garages for residents to park their cars during parking bans.

Just like last winter, the city will work with transportation services to explore Park and Ride options for this winter season. 

Other options being discussed are under-utilized parking lots during the pandemic winter, looking at potential of city administration buildings, recreation facilities and additional Park and Ride lots. 

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