Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Snowshoe sidewalks

[Bonus post this week! I said I'd post this on Wednesday, but needed to make room in the publishing schedule for an exciting time-sensitive series so it's going up on Tuesday instead. Enjoy!]

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we had some intense weather on the weekend, with a snowfall, then heavy rain, then another snowfall. We're lucky it was on the weekend, when traffic was lighter and most trips can be postponed. Those who did venture out had great difficulty getting around on foot. Since 48% of Centretown residents commute on foot, and many others walk through Centretown, unusable sidewalks is a significant setback.

Here's a snowbank at a mid-block bus stop on Gladstone. How are the passengers supposed to get to the bus? Able-bodied people might be okay, so long as they're not carrying too much with them, but anyone else would have a challenge. At the bus stop on the corner of Gladstone and Elgin, the snowbank was so wide and high that I could see no footprints between the shelter and the road (I wish I'd taken a photo). People just didn't use the bus.

It's not just for bus passengers. In front of the Central phase I construction site on Gladstone, large snowbanks prevent parkers from getting to the sidewalk except by walking in the middle of traffic to the end of the block. The entire stretch is also blocked off by the cross-braces on the posts. I seem to recall there being some gaps here, but there aren't any now.

This next one's pretty sneaky. The site office trailer for the Centropolis condos under construction at Gladstone and Kent is at the corner of Florence and Kent. In mid-January, my photos showed lots of room for a sidewalk plow to clear a path for pedestrians between the trailer and the tree on the bulbout:

Walking home along Florence on Saturday night, the plowed section of the sidewalk just stopped before the trailer. Foot tracks went along the curb edge to create a makeshift path (which was common on Saturday night, since many of the sidewalks had puddles, as mentioned last post). I wasn't quite sure where the sidewalk was under all the snow.

It wasn't until I got home and looked at my old photos that I realized they'd moved the trailer over top of the sidewalk!

Everyone's slowed down in the bad weather, but for some people bad weather means having to stay at home. For example, I can easily navigate this snow-narrowed sidewalk on Bronson, but someone with a wheelchair, walker, or stroller would have to backtrack and use the road. This isn't something that's done easily on Bronson Avenue.

The CCOC apartment building at 520 Bronson on the right in this photo has a fair number of wheelchair users. Thanks to whatever plow driver left this pile of snow on the sidewalk, those people won't be able to get anywhere safely.

Pedestrians shouldn't have to be second-class road users. These examples show where the needs of pedestrians aren't being considered.

Note: I prepared this post before Eric Darwin's guest post on a related topic: Good Neighbours on Snowy Sidewalks.

No comments:

Post a Comment