03/19/2013 07:12 EDT | Updated 05/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Toronto considers lessons learned from February snowstorm

It may be spring, but Toronto city politicians are still fuming over last month's winter snowstorm.

When it hit - back on Feb. 7 — the storm dumped between 20 and 25 centimetres of snow on the city and surrounding areas. It was the worst one-day storm in five years.

For many city councillors the cleanup effort left a lot to be desired — and explained.

In some cases the plows didn't seem to make much difference. Windrows blocked driveways, snow was piled high on streets and parked cars blocked snow clearing and TTC vehicles.

Stephen Buckley, Toronto's recently hired general manger of transportation services, says the city needs to get tougher when it is faced with significant snowfalls.

Buckley held a similar job in Philadelphia. He said during February's storm "there was a reluctance to use the snow emergency declaration. I know in Philly we used it quite often. It was effective in helping our crews perform their jobs."

In Toronto a full-fledged snow emergency means no car parking on snow routes for 72 hours.

Some believe that's too tough, so the city is considering creating a different level of emergency - perhaps a snow alert - that wouldn't be as restrictive, but at the same time would allow it to move cars away from trouble spots when necessary.

"We are looking at ways of not calling it a snow emergency, but activating those snow routes more easily, and not have it place for as long," said Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, who chairs the city's transportation committee.

Minnan-Wong is also promising improved windrow clearing. He also says that some contracts with private snow clearing operators — who do the bulk of the city snow clearance — won't be renewed.

"I think some of our contractors need better supervision," said Minnan-Wong.

The city is also exploring doing more snow removal so that pesky snowbanks don't persist for weeks after a storm.

Buckley says removal would focus on trouble spots.

"We are looking at locations we have historically had a problem with," he said.