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Winter Maintenance Policy

The Winter Maintenance Policy outlines how the City responds to winter weather events to help motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles move safely around Kingston.

The City’s 29 road plows and 16 sidewalk plows work continuously during winter weather events to clear over 1,800 km of road lanes and 600 km of sidewalks. 

Road Plowing

Road plowing is based on a priority system, with main arterial roads cleared first. Plows may do multiple passes before moving to collector roads and local residential roads.

During normal winter conditions, the target to clear roads once the precipitation ends includes:

  • Main arterial roads such as Princess Street, Joyceville Road and Gardiners Road within 4 hours.
  • Collector roads and bus routes such as Norman Rogers Drive, Gore Road and Unity Road within 6 hours.
  • Local residential roads such as Aragon Road, Greenwood Park Drive and Welborne Avenue within 16 hours.

Sidewalk Plowing

Sidewalk plowing is based on a priority system, with high pedestrian volume sidewalks and sidewalks next to high volume roads cleared first.

During normal winter conditions, the target to clear sidewalks once the precipitation ends includes:

  • High volume sidewalks within 24 hours.
  • Residential sidewalks within 48 hours.

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 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 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 a regional alert. 

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Snowplow Tracker

Developed in partnership with Bell as part of the Smart City pilot, the Snowplow Tracker map helps you see the progress of select City plows on main arterial roads.

The different road colours indicate the last time a road was serviced. Check the Snowplow Tracker frequently asked questions to learn more and click on the image below to launch the Snowplow Tracker map.

The Snowplow Tracker is in a pilot stage and shows only a select number of plows now testing this technology. The tracker will continue to evolve based on user feedback.

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.

Snowplow safety

  • 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.

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