Is your development site designed with snow in mind?

ByKevin Post

Is your development site designed with snow in mind?

I’m one of those weird ones that like winter. Snowshoeing deep into the forest. Cross-country skiing under the clear blue winter sky. I even like the great workout I get, when there are a few inches of the white stuff freshly fallen from the sky.

I was taught in school that within most of Ontario, parking lots can lose up to 20% of their parking lot space to snow piles. That is about one space out of five, lost to snow! Luckily, most of our snow falls after New Year’s Day. But, early, before the Holiday Seasons, snow falls can eat up lots of parking space for those crazy last minute shoppers (like myself).

If you are designing a new site or adding a new building or expansion to an existing site, one of the best times to review your parking lot layout is during the site plan development phase. Before you submit the plans for review, examine where the snow will be pushed, piled, and stored? Here are a few discussion points to start the conversation with your design team and snow removal contractor:

  1. Where are the possible starting points for the contractor to enter the site and start pushing the snow around?
    1. Does your site have more than one entrance?
    2. Are there clear paths to push the snow to an end aisle?
    3. Will vehicles be parked overnight?
  2. Will conflicts occur between the snow windrow around the roads and/or large snow piles with the drive aisles and the pedestrian walkways?
  3. Are the walkways wide enough that the snow removal contractor can drive his/her truck and quickly remove the snow? Will they need to snow blow / hand shovel?
    1. For the small pickup sized snow plough, the walkway should be about 2.4m (8′ wide)
  4. Where is the snow going to be piled or will it be trucked off site?

As a landscape architect, with experience with snow removal, I can work with your site design consultant team to improve your parking lot and landscape design to ensure less space is lost to snow.

Hope these discussion points help to improve your site during winter. Feel free to send us any questions you may have about your site, especially if it is still in the design phase. We would love to hear your comments about our blog and any Site and Landscape Design topics you would like to hear more about.

Kevin Post
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