Should You Create Snow Piles in Your Parking Lot?

snow piles in parking lots jpg

Snow piles are a pretty common sight in parking lots around Calgary during the winter. Plows and clearing crews create mountains of snow in parking lots after a snowfall.

These hills are often around for months at a time and we have all become accustomed to seeing them. But have you ever asked yourself, “Is this good for business?

Here are three things to consider:

1. Is it Revenue Impacting?

One of Calgary’s grocery stores was curious to see if snow piles affected their income. To check, they blocked off a few parking stalls and measured the impact on revenue at the tills against their normal averages.

At the end of their study, they concluded that each blocked parking stall contributed to a loss of revenue of $160 every hour the stall was blocked. It became clear that leaving piles of snow in their lots for months was having a substantial impact on their income.

For busy, high-traffic retail operations, hauling snow from parking lots costs only a fraction compared to the lost revenue from unavailable stalls.

2. Does it Impact Liability?

One of the reasons why Calgary’s climate is unique because of Chinooks during the winter, a local weather phenomenon caused by warm Pacific weather formations dropping their moisture as they pass over the Rocky Mountains, resulting in a dry, warm air front which temporarily suspends winter conditions. Chinooks can raise winter temperatures from well below freezing (like -20°C) to summer temperatures (like 20°C) in a matter of hours.

Rapidly melting snow from snow piles can quickly freeze when temperatures drop below 0°C again, creating slip and fall hazards in parking lots near where snow is piled.

3. Do Aesthetics Matter?

Finally, snow piles are rarely pristine piles of fresh, white snow. They often are a mixture of snow, ice, debris, rocks, dirt, and oil. Hauling snow is one way to make the impact of winter less noticeable for customers and tenants.

Additionally, it has been our experience that curbs often experience damage or wear and tear where snow is piled, creating headaches on their own.

What can you do?

  1. At minimum, consider requiring that snow piles be placed in areas that are not customer affecting.
  2. This winter, pay attention to revenue, hazards, and aesthetics to see if and how snow piles affect your business.
  3. If your facility is negatively impacted by snow piles in parking lots, we can helpLECM’s snow dump is within city limits, making LECM an economical alternative among snow haulers who have to haul to rural snow dumps.