Snow removal should be a priority in all Canadian cities

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Michelle
Snow removal should be a priority in all Canadian cities

 

Michelle

I'm so sick of excuses being made, why there can't have sidewalk ploughing and side street ploughing. It's been like this in most cities I've lived in. In Kingston, in Toronto. Oh, it snowed more than we thought, and we don't have the budget to remove the snow! Wah wah wah. We have to make the main arteries the priority, and if we don't get to the sidestreets and sidewalks, oh well, too bad.

I think it's important to plough the transit routes in any city first - absolutely. I also think it's important to plough sidewalks. Enough of this bullshit where you leave it up to individual homeowners to shovel the sidewalks, which they don't own anyhow. That's public property, and it should be taken care of by municipalities, not by individual homeowners. Lots of people living in houses (whether owners or renters) can't physically shovel sidewalks anyhow.

I'm a pedestrian and transit user. I'm sick of having to walk in the road in order to be able to get to where I have to go. But I do it, because I'll be damned if I'm going to wade through knee-high snow on the sidewalks while the city decides that cars are much more important than people.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: if your city is in Canada, YOU NEED A FUCKING SNOW REMOVAL BUDGET. It needs to be realistic. Base it, EVERY YEAR, on the absolute, worst case scenario, not on hoping that, by some miracle, you get the same winter snowfall as fucking Maryland.

Michelle

Whoops, meant to post this in Out and About - just moved it now.

Aristotleded24

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]I'm so sick of excuses being made, why there can't have sidewalk ploughing and side street ploughing. It's been like this in most cities I've lived in. In Kingston, in Toronto. Oh, it snowed more than we thought, and we don't have the budget to remove the snow! Wah wah wah. We have to make the main arteries the priority, and if we don't get to the sidestreets and sidewalks, oh well, too bad.[/b]

You do have the military at your disposal! [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img] [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

But being serious, yeah, you're right. And while they're at it, they could shovel in such a way as to not block people's driveways.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I just got back from Sept-Iles yesterday, and they don't give a shit about pedestrians making their way through the snow - while they make the absolute minimal effort on the sidewalks, they go [b]full blown all out[/b] to remove any trace of snow from the roads on behalf of motorists. I think their priorities are screwed. [img]mad.gif" border="0[/img]

lagatta

Montrйal removes the snow from streets and pavements - I think Ottawa, which has practically the same climate, only does that in the city centre.

Since the arrondissement system the snow removal has become far more uneven though. I walked to a client's office on Bernard Avenue in Outremont yesterday - about a half-hour walk, and usually a pleasant one - and once I entred the Outremont arrondissement there was not a speck of snow or ice on any street or walk, and gravel had been put down everywhere. As soon as I crossed the street to a less-exalted arrondissement, had to wade through glop.

Obviously Toronto usually gets less snow than Ottawa or Montrйal, but they could simply budget for fewer average heavy snowfalls. The budget here is carried over several years; last year there was practically no snow whatsoever until well through January, while this year has been very snowy (but not very cold except for a few snaps).

It is also a safety issue.

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

ok I'm not really laughing at ya'all!

Here in Owen Sound they do the transit routes first, sidewalks around schools and the downtown are also a priority.

No way does it take that long to clean up from a storm

lagatta

Francesca, in Montrйal they have to cart away the snow. There is no place to pile it up. It is a huge operation.

A beloved friend (a Sicilian) arrived here to teach at L'Universitй de Montrйal in JANUARY. He had a loaner car for some reason and it caught fire. He went upstairs to his flat to fetch water to put out the (small) fire. All was well but it was very funny. There is no snow in Sicily except perhaps atop some high mountains, and he simply didn't make the connection.

Bit farther south still, a Moroccan friend (professor of communications and journalist, too bad these two never met, as they would have loved one another) was working on a project in the far south of Morocco and in Mauritania about eradicating trichinosis (I was translating all of that into English and Spanish for a UN agency). Perhaps computers are better now, but at the time the SAND getting in the works mucked eveything up.

Their far south is practically like our far north, deeply deprived, and not speaking either Arabic or French, rather Berber dialects.

Stephen Gordon

Do they really *have* to cart it away in Montreal? Here in Quebec City, they only do that downtown. Everywhere else, the city snowblowers dump it on to peoples' front lawns.

lagatta

We have far more areas that correspond to your city centre, especially if it also includes places like old Limoilou. The front law of our unfairly-subsidised-co-op is scarcely a few feet deep, and many places have no front lawn at all. Which is good, as sprawl is poison.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Meanwhile, here on the Lower North Shore, the only road clearing is between Old Fort Bay and Blanc Sablon, all the rest of us use nothing but skidoos to get around, from November right to May.
I don't know if a new road from Natashquan to Old Fort would be cleared - it'd just be a gravel road anyway. Snow accumulations here probably would make it impossible to keep clear.

Skinny Dipper

Years ago, when I lived in the hamlet of Thornhill north of North Yorkshire-upon-the-Lastman, there were sidewalk plows that removed the snow.

If sidewalks are public property, they should be cleared by the municipalities. Is it fair that one homeowner with no sidewalk does not to have to clear any sidewalk snow while the neighbour who lives on a corner lot may have to clean two long sidewalks? Next thing you know, our hamlet politicians will want us to clear the snow off the street. I'm mad and I'm going to dump my snow in front of city hall! Thank you Johnny Fever!

Skinny Dipper

Francesca, are there Model-T's yet in Owen Sound? Public transit means hitching a ride on Mr. Smith's horse and buggy. I'm kidding.

I do like one of the shopping malls in Waterloo that has parking for the disabled, expectant and new mommies, and for horse-and-buggies. I'm not kidding. I wonder how the mall parking enforcers ticket a horse that has parked longer than the alloted three hours.

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

We have those parking spaces here too. If I have a quick errand at the mall I'll pull into an "Expectant Mother" spot and tell my daughter she's the one who's pregnant (she's 18), ohhh she gets mad!! [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

We have bike racks on our buses, that run 6:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday, and 9 am until 5:30 pm on Saturdays - no Sunday service!

I shouldn't crank about them. We did an Amazing Race with teens using the bus system as they don't have cars to get around town. It was a well received event (only one youth arrested) and adults are bugging me to do it again, so they can play too.

Polly B Polly B's picture

Last winter (I think) I remember a piece where the mayor of Edmonton was talking about the snow (and we had tons last year) on the Edmonton city streets. He said they had the budget, and the time, but that it was impossible to find any machinery to move snow since all the big iron had gone up north to the oilsands.

Here in Grande Prairie, they kinda plow the main arteries once in a while, but we need the snow on the roads to fill the potholes.

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

I think I spoke too soon

quote:

Owen Sound Snow budget melts away

All the snow we have received this winter, knocked the Owen Sound snow removal budget for a loop.

In 2007, the city left the budget for snow removal the same as the year before at 1 million and 57 thousand dollars.

Financial services director Wayne Ritchie says with all the snow we received in November and December... the city was 370 thousand dollars over budget.

For 2008, he recommends Owen Sound increase it's snow removal budget by about 10 percent to 1 million 155 thousand dollars.

Ritchie says they have been kept very busy with snow removal since the 1st of January..

If most of the budget gets eaten up before the Spring, Ritchie says they may have to find more money in the budget for November and December....


Fleabitn

Michelle said: ''...while the city decides that cars are much more important than people."

Surely you are not just now coming to this realization!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Doesn't it just melt within a few days anyway?

Stephen Gordon

Psst: her name is Michelle. Not Shirley

[ 18 February 2008: Message edited by: Stephen Gordon ]

The Wizard of S...

I hear you Michelle. And I feel your pain. Like most problems, it's the fault of the unions. We had a major snowfall in Regina a couple of weeks ago. Six pieces of snow removal equipment were unable to operate because they needed repairs, and the union that controls the City of Regina wouldn't allow it's repair guy to do them on a Sunday because he'd already worked the maximum 35 hours for that week. Bus routes, hospitals and the public be damnned. The union knows no mercy. I suspect your city is mobbed up with Big Labour too. What we need to do is outsource snow removal to the private sector on a lowest bid basis. The reduction in cost and improvement in efficiency would allow for not only major arterial lanes to be cleared in a timely manner, but residential streets and sidewalks as well. Imagine, twice as good at half the cost. Tommy was right when he said "Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world." Jeez, I miss him... We only met the one time, but we really hit it off. I know we would have been pals. The autographed book he sent me is just about the most favourite thing I own.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

quote:


Originally posted by The Wizard of Socialism:
I hear you Michelle. And I feel your pain. Like most problems, it's the fault of the unions.

Why is WOS still posting here?

Unionist

[url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=mZEMRAWaVr8]Snow in Toronto[/url]

[ 18 February 2008: Message edited by: unionist ]

Sven Sven's picture

When I lived in various place in Minneapolis, I saw the same problem. And, 20 years later, it's still a problem. Part of the issue with streets is that the city was no designed for massive numbers of automobiles. Many people do not have garages and those that do often have a single-stall garage. So, people park in the streets. It makes it nearly impossible to clear the streets of snow.

In the 'burb where I live now, we [b][i]can't[/b][/i] park in the streets in the winter. So, it's easy for the snow plows to efficienty remove all snow from the streets. As a result, after a snow of any meaningful depth falls, the streets are all instantly open to traffic.

As far as sidewalks go, no large city that I'm aware of takes it upon itself to shovel all of the sidewalks throughout the city. And, if a city can't keep streets cleared of snow, it's unlikely they will take on the additional (labor-intensive and costly) task of also shoveling sidewalks.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Sven:
As far as sidewalks go, no large city that I'm aware of takes it upon itself to shovel all of the sidewalks throughout the city. And, if a city can't keep streets cleared of snow, it's unlikely they will take on the additional (labor-intensive and costly) task of also shoveling sidewalks.

I've never understood why it's a priority for city officials to remove snow from streets but not sidewalks. Motor vehicles have powerful gas engines, heaters, and their occupants are protected from the elements by steel, glass, rubber, and fibreglass. Pedestrians, on the other hand, have no protection other than their clothes. Shouldn't the city feel a moral or civic obligation to do the sidewalks first? For the sake of those who don't drive, including children, elderly, and handicapped? [img]confused.gif" border="0[/img]

Sven Sven's picture

I would guess that a [b][i]snowplow[/b][/i] can plow a street at a rate of about [b][i]45 km/h[/b][/i] and that an individual can [b][i]snow-blow[/b][/i] a sidewalk at a rate of about [b][i]1.5 km/h[/b][/i] (and that a snowplow has to make two passes on a street to clean both sides of the street and that an individual has to make two passes on the same street to snow-blow the sidewalks on both sides of that street).

So, that means that it would take about [b][i]30 times[/b][/i] as much time to snow-blow two sidewalks on either sides of a street as it does to snowplow the same street.

Therefore, in rough terms, it would take about [b][i]30 times as much money[/b][/i] to snow-blow sidewalks in a city as it takes to snowplow the streets in a city.

Most cities are lucky if they can slightly increase their snow removal budgets (like [b][i]3% or 4% per year[/b][/i]). It’s hard to imagine a city finding the money to increase their snow-removal budgets by [b][i]3000%[/b][/i], the increase necessary to clear all sidewalks of snow. Or, to put it in different terms, if city taxpayers are paying [b][i]$5 million[/b][/i] for street snow removal, they would have to pay [b][i]$150 million[/b][/i] for sidewalk snow removal.

Obviously, those are back-of-the-envelope calculations. But, in any case, it’s pretty clear that it would be enormously costly for a city to start snow-blowing sidewalks.

[ 18 February 2008: Message edited by: Sven ]

martin dufresne

quote:


I would guess that a snowplow can plow a street at a rate of about 45 km/h

[img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img] Ah, "the Mad Sven" approach...! That would certainly be an interesting approach to ridding our streets of a lot of cars (along with a few pedestrians and the odd dog&lamp-post combo...) [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 18 February 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b] [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img] Ah, "the Mad Sven" approach...! That would certainly be an interesting approach to ridding our streets of a lot of cars (along with a few pedestrians and the odd dog&lamp-post combo...) [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]

Well, even if the snowplow speed was 30 km/h, it would still take [b][i]20 times[/b][/i] as much time to snow-blow a street's sidewalks as it would to snowplow that street.

angrymonkey
Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by angrymonkey:
[b]Yep,, this must have been sven..

[/b]


That's funny. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

If I could figure out how to attach a plow to the front end of my BMW K1200S, I could, after taking about eight seconds to wind it up to top speed, plow a 1 km stretch of street in just over 12 seconds. I'd make that plow on the YouTube clip look like it was going backwards... [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img]

Actually, at the top speed I've ever dared to actually go, it would take a full 15 seconds to traverse the 1 km. But, with practice, and the extra lateral stability a plow would afford me, 13 seconds wouldn't be out of the question... [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Fidel

"And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well, I just don't understand it" -- Marge Gunderson, wife of Norm SonofaGunderson, "Fargo"

[ 18 February 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Fidel:
[b]"And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well, I just don't understand it" -- Marge Gunderson, wife of Norm SonofaGunderson, "Fargo"[/b]

That accent is gradually being lost here in MiniSoda (as you affectionately call it, Fidel)...although outsiders would never agree with that!!

My mom died about 25 years ago when I was young and a couple of years ago, my bro sent me a tape he found of her voice. I couldn't believe how strong her accent was. It was like Marge Gunderson was talking to me!! My grandma actually spoke Norwegian so the accent came to my mom honestly.

Fidel

Ya don't say? My Ma's family has ties to Norway from aboot 500 years ago.

Some Americans have pegged my supposed accent as either Michigander or Minnesotan. And Michigan border bobbies have asked me if I'm Irish, or something. People from the Ottawa Valley know instinctively that I'm not a yokel. They do have a slight accent as far as I can tell. And Chicagoans just think I'm from Canada. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

ETA: Hang on to that tape, Sven.

[ 18 February 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Noise

I agree completely with you Michelle... So much of this seems to stem for just a lack of common sense. The roads get plowed and all of the snow is pushed up on the sidewalks, forcing people to walk up on the grass through mounds of snow. It seems like the city workers have a goal of pissing off pedestrians. There is a bus shelter on my walking route and to give access to it, the plow pushed the snowbank on the side of the street up and out of the way for the bus... In doing so, a wall of snow was pushed up onto the sidewalks making it next to impossible to access the bus stop by anything but a vehicle.

Just silly.

lagatta

Grrr, effing s-n-o-w. I have to go feed some cats and water some plants. Friends have taken off for a short holiday in Cuba.

abnormal

Noise wrote:
I agree completely with you Michelle... So much of this seems to stem for just a lack of common sense. The roads get plowed and all of the snow is pushed up on the sidewalks....

Except that here the city clears the sidewalks but back to the rant ....

milo204

Winnipeg:

 

the last couple of years have been tough here with a few unusually snowy winters in a row.  

Part of it is a lack of resources directed at cities from the federal government to help make up shortfalls due to what are essentially slow natural disasters.

Part of it is a city that has kept property taxes artificially low and allowed massive sprawl so that snow clearing budgets are huge to deal with all the suburbs and resulting sidewalks and streets.

 

lagatta

Early Québec City had no sprawl; I imagine Halifax was similar. Closely built and walkable. Carcentric sprawl is NOT a solution for northern cities. Obviously, not everyone can cycle like those intrepid Danes, and some people can't walk (or use mobility devices) on their own. But a denser urban form is far more appropriate to snowy places.

Aristotleded24

Would it be needlessly cruel to our friends in Central Canada for me to mention that Winnipeg temperatures are expected to be above 0 for a few days?

jas

Winnipeg is central Canada.

milo204

it's kinda nice not freezing our butts off, but of course everything is a disgusting sloppy mess right now with things melting....

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

A bloody mess getting around today. I read that removal will start in the evening.At least it's mild.

lagatta4

Thought this would be a good place to complain about our snowstorm that won't be properly cleaned up until next week. They'll be cleaning some major streets tonight; I hope there will be some more tomorrow, but then off for NYE and NYD (big things in Québec). I got some errands done yesterday - including CAT FOOD - but have to go out soon to pick up some odds and ends.

Yesterday I was on the 55 St-Laurent bus (because it was slippery) and saw a large number of people queueing to eat as Schwartz's - when most people I know prefer "The Main" across the street, but all say neither was as good as they used to be (typical geezer rant).

On the other hand there was almost nobody at the famously cheap and notoriously crowded and chaotic "Segal" market, a mainstay on the Main for decades. I checked - they opened in 1927! They'll be 90 this coming year.

lagatta4

Well, winter is spitting in our faces on its way out this year. A huge dump of white !@#$%?&* here in Montréal - and in your town or city? I was very busy working on a rush job yesterday, so didn't run any errands, and am out of COFFEE and also want to make some soup. Hope the main roads are walkable...

cco

The plowing has been abysmal in Montréal -- and I read earlier that it will be six days until it's all been cleared. Assuming there isn't any more snow in the meantime, I presume.

lagatta

Actually, the amount of snow is so great that I'm not surprised it is taking them longer than usual. What has been most abysmal is the lack of preparedness and action by the Ministry of Transport and so many people being stuck for hours and often all night with no assistance. 

Venturing out soon to run an errand. Boulevard St-Laurent has been cleared in my area so I'll be able to get up to Jean-Talon Market.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

They haven't even bothered to do the sidewalks in St-Henri. We got more snow in one day than the whole winter. I knew we were going to pay for the unusually mild February. I can trudge through this mess but how about the elderly and physically handicapped? Should I blame this on our clown mayor Coderre?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Two days ago it was friggin' snow friggin' everywhere here in Toronto.  Yesterday there was still some snow.  Today it was "meh".

lagatta4

One does not "pay" for good weather; weather has no morals.

Not even Notre-Dame in St-Henri? There has been a serious problem with the snow removal contractors throughout the southwest. I live close to two major streets so I only have to trudge about a third of a (long) block. But I'm glad I'm working at home right now and don't have too many urgent errands to run.

The problem is that soon the temperatures will be going above zero and if the snow isn't cleared first it can cause a hell of a mess, with flooding in some areas.

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike, I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture
bagkitty bagkitty's picture

At the risk of being accused of channelling Dr. Pangloss... even with more snowfall than usual this winter in Calgary, I am quite happy with the way snow removal on the stairs and sidewalks at my housing co-op has gone this year (all members are responsible for snow removal along the perimeter of their yards). This is my first full winter in my new unit (I did an "internal move" last year and no longer have a corner unit) and, while there are more stairs to contend with (the co-op is situated on a steep hill, there is an eight storey rise from the street front to the top units so we have sidewalks that are more like staircases) I now share the sidewalk with a wonderful neighbour who has, on several occasions, shoveled my assigned section as well as her own - I have tried to do the same for her... she does both stretches first thing in the morning when there is snow, I do them late afternoon and again after midnight if there has been more snow. It brings a huge smile to my face when I get to the end of part of the sidewalk that is inside my yard and look over the fence to see that the "public" part of my stretch has already been cleared - often enough to inspire me to go out and do someone else's "public" stretch (usually the corner unit I previously lived in... it is right at the crest of the hill and there are no stairs to deal with). "Paying it forward" and being someone's "snow angel" may sound a little saccharine in conversation, but the practice is pretty gratifying... especially when one finds oneself on the receiving end. Of course it helps that most of the snowfall this year has happened when it is very cold... it is a heck of a lot easier to deal with the snow is powdery (dry) then when it is is packed and sodden (wet) -- have cleared things out with either a broom or a leaf blower which is a heck of a lot easier than shovel and then lift to toss over the boundary fences. I am also not complaining that the city has changed their sanding/snow removal schedule and that they have spread gravel on the streets leading up to our top parking lot (the same eight storey rise) at the beginning of a snow event rather than a day or two after it happens. What can I say, it has been a good winter.

lagatta4

Congrats, that sounds nice. As you can imagine, our snow especially so late in the winter is very dense. And getting denser. We also have good cooperation in our co-op for that, more than for some other aspects of co-op life.

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