Crews on 12-hour shifts and ‘friendly tows’ part of effort to clear sidestreets of snow

If you’re one of the many residents of Toronto whose street is still buried in snow, some relief might be on the way.

Over the next week, city crews will be out clearing snow from residential and arterial roads and hauling the snow away to storage facilities.

“Dozens of crews working 12-hour shifts will use snow blowers, loaders and dump trucks” to get the job done, according to a news release issued on Friday morning.

“With temperatures forecast to remain cold for the next several days, and with the current snow and ice accumulation, staff will prioritize streets to ensure safety, including for emergency vehicles.”

The city says it may be necessary to do some “friendly tows” of vehicles to make room for snow removal equipment to effectively maneuver.

According to Brad Ross, spokesperson for the city, a “friendly tow” means your car will be moved to a nearby street or “around the corner.”

“No tickets, fines or impounding of cars. City will post advance notice on snow banks as early as possible,” Ross said in a tweet.

The news release says that Toronto has seen about a year’s worth of snow, ice and rain over a period of about six weeks. This, mixed with frequent freeze-thaw cycles, has made for difficult conditions on roads and sidewalks and tough work for snow removal crews.

According to Environment Canada data, 107.1 cm of snow fell at Pearson airport between January 1 and the end of February this year. The 20-year average for annual snow fall at that location is about 105 cm, the city says.

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