It is that time of year again, when Roads and Parking Services shifts their focus to cleaning up our communities from the mess the winter season leaves behind. It’s been a long winter, and everyone is ready to enjoy spending time outdoors. To prepare, an important part of our spring maintenance activities is street sweeping operations to ensure that areas such as sidewalks, roads and the cycling network are clear of debris. As of April 12, street-sweeping operations are officially underway. City-wide street sweeping operations take place in suburban and rural neighbourhoods.
How long will it take?
Street sweeping typically begins as early as the weather will allow and will occur during both daytime and nighttime shifts. These operations are an essential part of cleaning up the transportation network. Our Maintenance Quality Standards (MQS) require us to complete our street sweeping operations by May 31.
Staff aim to complete residential sweeping during the day and move to main streets overnight, however, this may not be possible at all times. When the temperature drops below zero overnight, operations must be paused as the water we use on the road can form into ice, creating dangerous conditions. If there is a winter weather event, operations will be ceased temporarily, and our teams will be reassigned to clear and treat our transportation network.
There are no parking restrictions during city-wide street sweeping operations.
How is city-wide street sweeping completed?
City-wide street sweeping is done in phases:
- Sidewalks, bus stop pads and medians are cleaned first by a variety of methods using sidewalk sweepers, leaf blowers, flusher trucks and hand brooms.
- A sidewalk sweeper will work in the area first, pushing grit, debris and dust onto the roadway. A vacuum sweeper or mechanical sweeper truck then picks up the majority of grit, debris, small particles and dust removing it from the road.
- This operation might be repeated several times to ensure a clean surface. If vehicles are parked on the street, the unswept area is noted and crews will return to sweep that portion at a later date.
Street Sweeping in Concentrated Areas
In urban neighbourhoods that support continuous on-street parking year-round, we complete what is known as concentrated street sweeping. Concentrated street sweeping operations are an important and necessary requirement in the urban neighbourhoods to efficiently move through the streets. Unlike city-wide street sweeping operations, parking restrictions are in effect in neighbourhoods where concentrated street sweeping is underway. Residents are required to move their cars to allow street sweeping operations to be completed, and signage will be posed to alert residents when these operations are scheduled to take place.
Concentrated street sweeping operations began on April 3 and are expected to be completed on April 15, 2023.
Resident support is required
- Residents are reminded to not rake or blow leaves, lawn clippings or other debris onto the roadways as it can make our operations more challenging, especially if the area has already been swept.
- Wherever possible, please remove vehicles from the roadway to allow the street sweeping teams to complete their clean-up efficiently.
We recognize that street sweeping operations can be noisy and disruptive, for the short period in which they take place. However, they are an essential part of our spring clean-up efforts and as such, the City of Ottawa’s street sweeping operations are exempt from the Noise By-law (No. 2017-255) under Section 21(1) and may run at any time.
More information about our street sweeping operations is available on Ottawa.ca/springmaintenance.