Transportation

Snow Clearing Should Not Prioritize Driving Over Other Modes

By Abra Bergen
Published December 18, 2013

This morning's early delivery, while still dark, to Cafe Oranje from Cake & Loaf Bakery was interesting. Normally these early deliveries are nice - quiet and peaceful. But with the state of our streets as they are, it was less so.

While arterial streets were more or less cleared, with snow consigned to the curb lanes, residential streets were in varying states of mess.

Dundurn, a street that has cycling infrastructure south of Main, had its bike lanes turned into mere snow repositories. Only where snow was cleared to facilitate car parking were these lanes not filled high with snow.

Markland, a rather common cycling route for us when doing east to west routes south of Main, was entirely unusable, its contraflow bike lane piled high with snow.

Snow clearing is not what Hamilton does well, generally. Facilitating year-round active transportation is clearly not a priority. This needs to change.

Whether for walking or cycling, we need to ensure first that these modes of travel are safe. These are the most basic modes of transportation, as also the cheapest, the most universal, and the healthiest for both individual and society; in short, the most human.

Walking, cycling and transit should be top priority. We can do better!

See also:

First published on Facebook.

Abra Bergen is an art model, aerialist, and performer, and previously was the founder of The Hammer Active Alternative Transportation, a local, sustainable human-powered delivery business in Hamilton.

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:54:37

Q: Who do I contact if I want to make a complaint about snow and ice that has not been removed after 24 hours of a snowfall?

A: If you would like to register a complaint about the Snow and Ice Removal By-law, please contact the Municipal Law Enforcement Section at 905-546-2782 (Option #1), Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or 905-546-CITY(2489) after business hours.

http://www.hamilton.ca/Help/City+of+Hamilton+FAQs/SnowRemovalBylawFAQs

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:12:26

Ditto the bike lanes on Sterling St. I've had to share the single mixed traffic lane all week because of the snow. I cannot imagine why the bike lane wasn't ploughed.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:19:54

the length of the lawrence road bike lane also needs to be cleared.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:34:18

Even for drivers the snow-clearing on residential streets has been less-than-stellar. The parking lanes are a mess. Before last year you could count on a second-pass of the plough to push the snowbanks further over, but this year? Even when there was nobody using the parking lanes, the ploughs didn't seem to make any attempts to compress the snowbanks. Parallel parking isn't fun this year.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2013-12-18 12:35:55

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 18, 2013 at 13:17:51 in reply to Comment 96099

One starts to get a sense of why the City doesn't want to release realtime data on what streets are being ploughed.

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By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted December 18, 2013 at 13:16:45

My favorite thing so far was walking down Barton Street from Queen up to Bay along the South Side only to discover that the City hadn't bothered to clear the long stretch of sidewalk in front of their municipal services building there. My favorite part? The little parking lot that I've seen a total of 2 cars in the entire 3 years I've lived in this area was cleared.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 13:36:24

Likewise, have noticed in Burlington and Hamilton, not only are the bike lanes not cleared, it's where the snow gets piled. So riding on roads like Dundurn and Northshore is definitely sharrows right now. It does get messy when there is a large snowfall, at the same time, yeah it is evident that cycling does not even get acknowledged during winter, simply nobody cares about the few year round riders. I always thought one of the upsides of unseparated on road bike lanes was they get cleared by existing snowplows, but they don't, and are not navigable due to random snow piles, refrozen slush and other issues. Oh well, cautious but unapologetic lane sharing it is! On that topic I have not yet been murdered on Beckett Drive, an unfortunate but necessary winter route in place of the bruce trail, but yeah I have that going for me so that's nice.

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By durander (registered) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 14:15:05

People should relax a bit...it takes time to clear snow. Don't get me wrong - I agree with where you are coming from, but the priority should be the travelled lanes of the roadway first, merely from a numbers perspective. I would hope that similar to efforts going on now by the city, that bike lanes, will be cleared as soon as possible.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 19, 2013 at 04:53:57 in reply to Comment 96105

Sure it takes time. I think everyone understands that snowstorms are messy, snow piles up, and it takes time to plow routes which are prioritized according to how major the road is. It takes a few days for crews to dig out sidewalk curbs, bus stops, and so on. No worries, patience is key after a large storm.

However there seems to be no system in place for bike lanes, neither asap nor at all. It's totally random, just whatever the plow happened to scrape away.

It's important that expectations be realistic; mounds of snow along the edge of the road are unavoidable while we're digging out. This is neither new nor preventable. Cars will park farther out. Heck, people walk along the edge of arterial roads during a heavy winter storm while sidewalks are buried over a foot deep. However a week later, it is obvious that bike lanes are not maintained in winter.

As a beginning, and absolutely at the very minimum - dedicated bike routes, that were narrowed for that purpose, and/or are dangerous as sharrows when blocked, should have snow removal done. Dundurn being such an example - already witnessed one collision between a bike and a vehicle squeezing on Dundurn. Fortunately no damages, just apologies and a handshake.

So, my impression of this posting is that it is not intended to show impatience, just point out a gap in snow removal best practices in our area. I have no idea whether bike lanes are explicitly not maintained, or whether there is simply no procedure in place yet. Does anyone know if any other Canadian cities do a better job of clearing their bike lanes? What were their solutions?

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 15:07:07 in reply to Comment 96105

merely from a numbers perspective

That's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy right there. As long as bike lanes can't be relied on in the case of inclement weather, 'the numbers' will continue to favour roads because biking is not a viable option when you can't get to work for a week after a snowstorm.

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By durander (registered) | Posted December 20, 2013 at 11:03:30 in reply to Comment 96110

Good point. Should we just clear the bike lanes then and not the roads....that way everyone will ride their bikes? Not likely...but nice try.

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By Straw Durander (anonymous) | Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:38:15 in reply to Comment 96212

Or, crazy thought, WHY DON'T WE CLEAR BOTH. Like people here are asking. That would be fair to everyone who needs to use the street no matter how they use it. The "nice try" is you arguing against a position no one here has taken.

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By You can't be serious (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 18:22:29 in reply to Comment 96110

Are you kidding me? You think that there's an equal number of cyclists and cars, especially in the winter? Give your head a shake.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 18, 2013 at 19:00:07 in reply to Comment 96118

That's kind of the definition of the phrase "self-fulfilling prophecy". There will never be a large number of cyclists if biking keeps getting obstacles... obstacles that are justified by the low number of cyclists.

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By AP (registered) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 22:01:16 in reply to Comment 96121

I came across this quote today: "When asked 'are bike lanes warranted here,' remember it's hard to justify a bridge by the number of people swimming across a river."

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 15:00:49 in reply to Comment 96105

The serious snow fell Saturday, and overnight into Sunday. It is now 2pm on Wednesday.

How long does it take to clear snow?

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 22:35:47 in reply to Comment 96108

How long? Until April.

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By Myrcurial (broken account) (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 14:50:34

I was hard on Sam Merulla last year over snow plowing... things haven't changed this year.

For much of residential lower Hamilton, on street parking is the norm. This means that our nominal two lane streets are really one-and-a-I-can-just-squeak-past lanes.

When the snow plow comes through (it was a road grader most recently) it makes a single pass. That clears one lane.

That's right - this city is so hell bent on one-way streets that it actively converts much of the lower city to one-way whenever there's a snow storm.

The only option I can come up with is for the plow to make two passes. One carefully along the parked cars pushing the snow away from them and a second pass with both blades deployed to push the snow off of the road and onto the lawns, clearing the sidewalks in the process.

This would require people with driveways to pull in further to avoid having their bumper smushed by snow, but it would be better than the current situation of taking up half the driving lanes with snow piles.

Or maybe we just need to have a bulk order of the one-way koolaid that they serve at City Hall.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 15:02:47

It used to be back in the day they also had giant snowblowers out, taking snow off of streets, and putting it into dump trucks to be dumped in the Bay (or elsewhere, I'm not actually sure).

I haven't seen one of these machines around Ward 7 in probably the last 10 years...

Do we still have them? Do they still use them?

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By Sure Do (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 18:18:07 in reply to Comment 96109

They do. Last year they used bobcats and snowblowers to fill dump trucks and dumped the snow in an empty lot near my place. They filled it up with about 10 loads or so - but strangely, it was not from our area.

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By Keith (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 16:04:59 in reply to Comment 96109

They've had one out in Durand the last few nights, as well as the bobcats and other front end loaders putting snow into dump trucks. At least in my area, I've only seen them out after 11pm until at least 3/4am.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 18:10:48

http://weather.gc.ca/warnings/report_e.html?on58

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 22:10:22

Let me get this straight. You want bike lanes and pedestrian ways and transit lanes to take priority over regular traffic lanes? Are you nuts? Have you lost all common sense? Traffic lanes must be cleared first and kept cleared as much as possible. Everything else comes a distant second. What happens if there is a fire? The trucks stay in the garage and the guys walk to YOUR house? What about the cops? What if someone needs an ambulance? Tell them to walk to the nearest hospital?

The nonsense is almost unbelievable. Almost. Anywhere but on this site.

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By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted December 19, 2013 at 09:48:20 in reply to Comment 96129

So defensive about your slowly disappearing privilege. The only one saying something they don't value should "come a distant second" over what they do value is YOU. The author isn't saying we shouldn't clear streets, he's saying we should ALSO clear bike lanes and sidewalks. Is that really so hard to understand. "To the blind all things are sudden."

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By brodiec (registered) | Posted January 03, 2014 at 15:21:35 in reply to Comment 96161

Yeah let's talk about privilege. Let's talk about people who own their businesses using this blog as a platform for their very niche concerns. Let's talk about how much disabled people in this city should probably get priority when it comes to clearing snow downtown. But fuck it, we are so fucking cool and virtuous! Let's count the ways this hipster circle jerk can stroke you off!

I'd take this article a bit more seriously if OP hadn't given me an earful of his lame condescension before. Or his interoping on queer male spaces without actually engaging. Talk about privilege.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted January 05, 2014 at 08:51:29 in reply to Comment 96428

I don't know or care what your beef is with OP, I ain't going there.

But an article can be imperfect but still raise an important point. The wording "priority" in the article may not have been the best word to choose, some intelligent comments, from people that understood what the author is trying to say, identify some gaps. Some of which may not be practical, others may be just a tiny adjustment, easy to fix. How do we know if we don't discuss it?

Let's talk about how much disabled people in this city should probably get priority when it comes to clearing snow downtown.

Residents and businesses are responsible for removing snow from their properties. Business would include wheelchair ramps and accessible exits. Residents that fall into this category can request assistance if they need it. There is coverage under the bylaws to make sure it is addressed.

"What? Did hipster mikeonthemountain just advocate leaving cars and buses stuck in the snow while we dig out wheelchair ramps first, bike lanes second, and the rest of the city last?"

No I did not. Twisting, distorting, and hyperbole pre-empted.

You would consider me an idiot if I judged the driving public based on the the most vitriolic comments in a right wing newspaper. Those turn into quite the circle jerk of idiocracy too, and repeat the same broken arguments over, too you know. I don't assume that all motorists have hearts and heads made of gasoline. Please, please, don't make equivalent ignorant assumptions about people based on their form of transportation.

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By LOL@LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted December 20, 2013 at 07:54:17 in reply to Comment 96161

You're sounding a bit defensive there. Do you even own a bike? Are you just piling on because it's the cool thing to do here? Trolling isn't cool, regardless what "side" you think your're on. Go away.

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By brodiec (registered) | Posted January 03, 2014 at 15:27:31 in reply to Comment 96205

For real. I never comment or read this blog very much anymore because it's such an echo chamber of the same old people and their "anonymous" handles. The Tumblr Politics are getting a bit old hat, don't you think? Like as a member of a group of people historically killed and written out of history I find applying "privilege" to road traffic and city services just a bit out of touch with the essence of the term and it's sociological meaning.

And OP is a douche. Like should be in Portlandia as a joke.

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By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:40:15 in reply to Comment 96205

Your lame attempt at a comeback doesn't even make sense.

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By LOL@LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2013 at 07:42:40 in reply to Comment 96218

It makes sense, you just don't get it. Thanks for trying, though.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 19, 2013 at 05:23:12 in reply to Comment 96129

I'll stick my neck out waving a white flag :) I think this article is useful in pointing out gaps in snow removal policies, and challenges which may result. It is awesome that arterial roads are plowed continuously during a storm - it creates a temporary corridor for everyone - people even walk along the edge of the road if needed in exceptionally heavy snow - so yeah pushing snow out of arterial roads would be the easiest and most obvious place to start; nothing wrong with the service there.

The complaint seems pointed more toward gaps in the subsequent cleanup done over the hours and days that follow, and what if any improvements can be made to improve mobility for everyone - that's a great discussion to have!

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By brodiec (registered) | Posted January 03, 2014 at 15:30:32 in reply to Comment 96149

I agree but I think the focus on cyclists is really not a priority. Their argument always comes down to virtuousness and how they are doing what's right. Which might be correct, sure. But in this existing situation motorists and pedestrians should probably come first. Not everyone runs an all-season bike delivery business.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted January 03, 2014 at 17:28:52 in reply to Comment 96430

Not asking for priority or focus.

In the existing situation roads already come first, sidewalks already come second, which is exactly appropriate and desirable. Both already come first.

For cycling I am suggesting a change where snow removal does not exist at all, to having an appropriate place in the snow clearing hierarchy. When doing follow up snow removal days after a storm, running a plow blade over a dedicated bike lane, or digging out a rack in a busy spot, is not the same as asking roads and pedestrians to come second to bike lanes.

Listen, I'm absolutely fine with cycling in the right lane while bike lanes are snow covered. It's just a shame the city took the effort to narrow a road, put in bike lanes, and then bikes get forced back into the now single lane.

After our Christmas snowstorm, I was riding in the right lane of York Blvd into Burlington. With cars and trucks screaming past since they're already accelerating to highway speed.

This morning, after yesterdays snowstorm, the bike lanes on York were plowed and navigable! They didn't do anything special, just the plows scraped farther to the edge this time. That was it, they just pushed snow an extra half meter farther. Boom, solved. The bike lane is navigable, me out of live vehicular traffic.

Not everyone runs an all-season bike delivery business.

Trying my best to be clear and articulate - but a little concerned how easily a simple problem->solution conversation descends into hyperbole and polar absolutes. I can empirically confirm your observation that not everyone runs an all year bike delivery business. That's not what this conversation is about! :)

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By Sensible (anonymous) | Posted December 20, 2013 at 07:50:20 in reply to Comment 96149

This is probably the most sensible comment made on here. Too bad common sense isn't common :)

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 18, 2013 at 23:15:30

Of all the modes of transportation, which is most easily able to continue moving around with virtually no problems in snow, unless it's a massive storm?

And yet that's the only mode we pump tons of money into clearing the snow for?? Makes zero sense. It's way tougher to walk or bike in the snow, yet we don't even attempt to clear snow for those transportation modes.

My cross-town commute this week from Locke/York to Cannon/Gage and back took 1 minute longer each way than usual due to the slower roads with snow/slush on them. We drove around 40km the entire way, with the odd time hitting 50 briefly. And it added. one. minute. to. the. drive.

Also, here is a list of streets I drove on with zero problems or traffic that was one lane less due to the snowbanks:

Cannon, both east and west of Sherman Herkimer east of Locke Locke, south of King Wilson Queen, south of Main Bay, south of Main

Think of the money we could save by permanently closing these lanes? Priorities.

Comment edited by jason on 2013-12-18 23:20:29

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 06:16:17 in reply to Comment 96135

OH my OH my. The traffic on all roads was greatly reduced because so many people simply stayed home. Sounds like you should have too.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 19, 2013 at 05:33:58

Another important reason to clarify snow removal policies and available tools for bike routes: once we start getting separated bike routes (Cannon), how will they be cleared? Will riders be left to wipe out in uncleared snow? Will they become not navigable, forcing riders into traffic lanes where a separated network exists?

Bike lanes that are on-road with no separation (just about all of them) can be cleared by existing street plows. But in practice it doesn't work; parked cars and random snow piles keep most or all of the lane not navigable.

Will physically separated lanes be cleared by smaller trucks? Parks and rec equipment? Just curious - it would be good to know before it gets built :)

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted December 19, 2013 at 15:21:52 in reply to Comment 96150

I believe they use a Mini Cat on the King West separated lane that crosses the 403. Can anyone corroborate this?

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted December 19, 2013 at 15:47:28

Sent today to the lower city Councillors:

Hello Councillors,

I am emailing to inform you of snow that is yet to be removed from bicycle lanes on the length of Lawrence Road, Stinson Street and York Blvd; as well as snow that has been piled over bicycle racks along York Blvd near the Library and Market.

I understand it takes time to remove snow and I have been patient. It has now been over 100 hours since the snow has stopped falling. Vehicle lanes on these streets are clear as are parking spaces, but cyclists have been forced out into traffic along these routes and left with nowhere to secure their bicycles upon reaching their destinations. In contrast as a home owner, I am required to remove snow from the sidewalks in front of my property within 24 hours under threat of a fine from the city. Bicycle lanes and racks are not snow-storage areas and both should be clear of snow as soon as possible after the snow stops falling.

While the numbers of cyclists on the road may be lower during winter months, I am afraid that not accommodating them at all (and in fact, insulting them with this type of preferential treatment) will create a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Please let me know when I can expect these lanes and racks to be clear of snow.

Thanks,

Reuben Vanderkwaak

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By Foolishness (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2013 at 07:47:45 in reply to Comment 96180

So, I was walking downtown yesterday and found numerous sidewalks not plowed, as well as lanes on the street that were not plowed (north lane on Main between John and Catherine was not plowed, causing cars to park out into cleared lanes, sidewalks at Catherine, John, King not fully cleared, and icing over with nothing to get rid of the ice) and was donering, are you OK if I use your letter as a template to send to the councillors?

Something like this, maybe?

Hello Councillors,

I am emailing to inform you of snow that is yet to be removed from street lanes and sidewalkson the length of Main at John to Catherine and beyond; as well as snow that has been cleared for single-file walking all over downtown.

I understand it takes time to remove snow and I have been patient. It has now been over 100 hours since the snow has stopped falling. Most vehicle lanes on these streets are clear as are parking spaces, but other drivers and walkers have been forced out into traffic along these routes and left with nowhere to secure their vehicles upon reaching their destinations. In contrast as a home owner, I am required to remove snow from the sidewalks in front of my property within 24 hours under threat of a fine from the city. Street lanes and sidewalks are not snow-storage areas and both should be clear of snow as soon as possible after the snow stops falling.

While the numbers of drivers and pedestrians on the road and sidewalks may be lower during winter months, I am afraid that not accommodating them at all (and in fact, insulting them with this type of preferential treatment) will create a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Please let me know when I can expect these lanes to be clear of snow.

Thanks,

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 19, 2013 at 20:27:08 in reply to Comment 96180

Even in front of the market the racks were not dug out? Wow that is unfortunate. Obviously they are not on the list of spots for city crews to clear as they make their rounds taking care of bus stops and whatnot. Hopefully something that is discerned as an oversight and corrected. Snow removal providers at my local supermarkets don't dig bike racks out either, but I'm used to crappy or no racks at malls and plazas.

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By AP (registered) | Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:58:22 in reply to Comment 96188

The single rack at City Hall (in the parking lot off Hunter) was buried under several feet of snow as of last night...while the rest of the lot showed no signs of snow and winter at all: Clear as a summer day. It clearly wasn't an accident that the entire lot's worth of snow ended up on top of the one and only bike rack while the ~80 car spots were 100% clear. And don't get me wrong: The car spots are likely used every day, reserved for an employee or otherwise expecting them to be there and ready for use. Keep clearing those - just don't bury the only bike rack in the process.

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By Dm (anonymous) | Posted December 20, 2013 at 11:24:45 in reply to Comment 96211

There are bike racks in front of city hall that are clear.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted December 20, 2013 at 11:05:35 in reply to Comment 96211

Email your Councillor and let them know that you care about having that rack cleared. They need to hear it from as many people as possible.

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:46:03

Nice shameless plug.

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By Ed Sernie (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2013 at 13:21:46

Personally, I think that bike lanes, where possible, should be completely separate from roads. If you look at videos from the Netherlands, many bike lanes are separated from roads AND from many sidewalks. And I think that land space is even more precious in the Netherlands than in Canada.

For example, York Boulevard east to Burlington could very easily have separated bike lanes instead of the mess we have now.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2013 at 18:22:04

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By SCRAP (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2013 at 17:00:17

There was a time, when there was no snow removal. People today are spoiled and want things like yesterday. Maybe we should be thankful for what we have, as it could be like it was, waiting for the big thaw. Happy holdiays

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By What are you getting at (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2013 at 06:37:08 in reply to Comment 96323

Not sure what you're trying to get at. Once upon a time, cars didn't exist. Nor income tax. Nor the Internet. The "be thankful for what we have" is a cop out answer that sounds like it's coming from City Hall. We pay for services we don't get, get poorly, or rarely, get above and beyond. The past couple of years have been terrible for snow removal in this city. It's no wonder they don't want us to know where our trucks are during the storms. The side street our building's garage opens to has still not had any snow removed from the curbs, even though there's plenty of opportunity for the city to get their equipment in to remove it. I feel very strongly that we aren't getting our money's worth, and have no accountability from the city over why we continue to pay high rates for horrible service.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 24, 2013 at 13:00:12 in reply to Comment 96345

This is largely because we refuse to build our city - esp the core - for living, and insist on building it for driving, which is completely unaffordable. If we don't change our priorities it's just going to get worse.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 06:18:46 in reply to Comment 96355

Driving isn't completely unaffordable for the hundreds of thousands of us who do it each and every day. We are also the ones who pay the taxes that fund this city.

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By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 09:40:28 in reply to Comment 96546

It's unaffordable for the city not for the people who drive, as seancb keeps pointing out. People can 'afford' to drive because they don't pay the total cost of driving, that's paid by property tax which everyone pays whether they drive or not -- but we've got an infrastructure maintenance deficit that's growing by $100 million a year because the city isn't collecting enough property tax to pay for our roads. And it gets worse, because the more people drive, the faster our roads wear out and need to be repaired, and the more expensive they are to maintain.

So when you get more people walking, cycling and taking transit instead of driving, that makes it cheaper for the city to maintain its roads because there's less wear and tear. Also when you remove driving lanes by turning them into bike lanes or wider sidewalks that reduces their maintenance costs even more.

But if you keep your head in the sand about how much your chosen way of life is subsidized by taxpayers, you'll keep having a hard time understanding this basic fact.

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By Nah (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2013 at 18:55:51 in reply to Comment 96355

I live downtown but I also drive. It's not unaffordable, what I find is unaffordable is taking away car lanes for pet projects for a vocal minority.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2013 at 13:23:26 in reply to Comment 96384

*whoosh*

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted December 24, 2013 at 01:51:21

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted January 02, 2014 at 13:02:35 in reply to Comment 96339

When our resources are being overwhelmed in clearing snow then yes, absolutely the roads must be our only concern. Once the plows aren't being overwhelmed then and only then should they worry about trivial things like bike paths.

I don't think there is any disagreement here. Post-snowstorm removal is what we're talking about. Roads are all you can do in the middle of a storm. In the days that follow they can plow and snowblow the bikelanes.

None of what you said is in dispute. It's just that you see things in such polar absolutes, you make it sound like we're asking for roads to be left with a foot of snow for drivers to spin their tires in, while bike lanes are sparkling and heated.

I've said this a million times before and I'll say it again calmly : a request to improve a piece of infrastructure is NOT automatically a request to snatch your car away from you.

The article, and the comments, asked for dedicated bike lanes to be scraped by a plow, and for bike racks at city destinations (central library/market) to be cleared. What's with your lack of sense at interpreting this conversation?

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2014-01-02 13:05:50

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted December 24, 2013 at 10:14:23

You really shouldn’t call bike lanes “trivial.” That is your opinion because you don’t use them, but for people who depend on them to get to their jobs or elsewhere, they are anything but trivial. Many a cyclist has missed work because they couldn’t get there.

As it happens, I personally can’t safely get to work (okay, I can, but my path there is not maintained in such a way as to make it safe, let alone quick and convenient, and motorists would not tolerate taking their cars through the conditions I walk through). I know it’s because the consensus is that sidewalks are “trivial” in relation to roads, but that’s stupidity. Do you really think I don’t “need” to get to work?

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:14:17 in reply to Comment 96351

Bike lanes aren't trivial because I don't use them. (at least for 4 or 5 months of the year) Bike lanes are trivial because of numbers. There are so few cyclists out there when the weather turns cold that catering to such a small number just doesn't make any sense. For the few cyclists that do want to commute they have to find another way be it transit or a ride from a co-worker. I know, I know already but life just isn't fair.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted January 02, 2014 at 13:08:49 in reply to Comment 96381

No problem. You'll find me riding in the traffic lane when bike lanes are covered up by snow banks. Like on Dundurn and York right now. I'm fine with taking the right lane. Make sure you pass safely. Clearly you don't mind my being there since you oppose including bike lanes in snow removal.

Or, you know, they could run a snowblower/plow over the bike lane too, and then I won't be in your way!

Makes no difference to me. Your condescension and hatred for cycling does not change any cyclist's requirement to get to work.

(edit Also remember we are mainly talking about snow cleanup after a storm, not during. Just pre-empting polar hyperbole. Just for crystal clarity - not advocating that vehicles be stuck in the snow because city crews are ignoring roads in favor of polishing bike lanes first. That's not what anyone said.)

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2014-01-02 13:11:19

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted January 04, 2014 at 21:49:09 in reply to Comment 96421

I don't hate cycling. I hate the lack of common sense. Hundreds of thousands of cars, hundreds of buses, more hundreds of trucks, plus cop cars fire trucks and ambulances compared to what a few dozen cyclists in the winter. If you want to ride your bike then please do, all the more power to you. Just don't expect the rest of society to join you or even understand why you or anyone else would.

I was at a Christmas party not long ago and the subject of winter cyclists came up and was greatly ridiculed. There where 35 or 40 people there and not one of them could understand why anyone would take a bike out in the winter. Just like motorcycles most bicycles disappear from our roads come November, December. Society doesn't understand cycling in the winter and that's why bike lanes are not cleared. Some guy driving a truck thinks you would have to be absolutely nuts to ride a bike once the temperature goes below balmy, and you wonder why he doesn't clear the bike lane. How many cyclists have you seen since the weather got cold, even before the first snow? Very Very Very few. Those of you who insist on riding their bikes in the winter will do so whether or not the bike lanes are cleared so why bother clearing them.

This is how cyclists are viewed by "normal" people. People who drive cars all the time. The hundreds of thousands who pay millions of dollars in taxes that provide the money the city runs on. Unfortunately for you I don't see the attitude or the snow clearing changing any time soon.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted January 05, 2014 at 09:46:15 in reply to Comment 96449

We're on the same page friend! However if, in addition to that, plows reach any bike lanes I will use them. If not, I will ride in the right lane, up to 1M from the edge of the snowbank edge, per lane sharing best practices. Please pass safely - there is also a mounted dash-cam. If racks are cleared, I will use them. If not, whatever! I'll lock the bike to something else, or skip the business (I've skipped my weekly trips to the farmer's market which is struggling to attract customers)

Twenty cars piled up on the QEW on Thursday. Twenty cars piled up on the Gardiner on Friday. That is in addition to hundreds of other accidents.

I rode my bike both days without a single slip or fall, nor a horn honk from anyone. Properly dressed, winter/ice tires on the bike, and reduced speed. Did I have other choices? Yes. Did I evaluate conditions to make sure they were navigable for that particular bike at the speeds I wanted to ride? Yes. Am I an outlier? Absolutely. Am I nuts? Certainly! But for me, no stranding due to GO cancellations, with transit taking three hours to get us home. No sitting at a standstill on highways because Herp Derp wanted to weave through traffic and ten of you are now spun out all over the highway. I got there faster than some driving co-workers!

I arrived at work wide awake from fresh air, cheeks rosy, energy level high, smile on my face. Then sat down to my extremely sedentary programming job, which is the reason cycling to work means so much to me. I don't recommend it for everyone, only those who want to do it, are sufficiently prepared and skilled/experienced, should attempt a 30km ride in -20C. It's also an exercise in personal fitness and endurance.

Not trying to overdo the comparison, but, it was not normal for Rosa Parks to sit at the front of the bus. Eventually, it became an issue that what was "normal" was neither right nor best for society. And eventually, what was "normal" changed. It was normal for a doctor to smoke in his office while seeing patients. It was normal to put Radium into perfume in the 1940's when radioactivity went through a fad.

I spend periods of winter in Calgary and, while certainly few, was surprised that there were that many cyclists, on decent winterized bikes, making their way down streets and sidewalks that were not even salted! Just plowed and sanded. I never saw any of them struggle or fall. I'm sure every one of them weighed their alternatives and chose to cycle despite an option to take the bus or something.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 06:23:48 in reply to Comment 96457

Then you just proved that clearing bike lanes is not necessary at all. In fact maybe you just proved that bike lanes aren't necessary at all.

SOLD

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 13:40:20 in reply to Comment 96547

lol if you say so.

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By LOL 100 years ago (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2013 at 10:02:22 in reply to Comment 96381

Car lanes are trivial because of numbers. There are so few drivers out there that catering to such a small number just doesn't make sense. For the few drivers that do want to commute they have to find another way be it transit or walking. I know, I know already but life just isn't fair.

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By Aww, boo hoo. (anonymous) | Posted December 26, 2013 at 06:20:19 in reply to Comment 96351

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted January 06, 2014 at 09:39:32 in reply to Comment 96361

You need to read more carefully: I guess I didn’t make it clear that I walk to my job (I thought it might have been clear when I referred to sidewalks). I do this for a lot of reasons, and one is to stay in shape. So my legs work very well, thank you. You know, though, for some people that is not the case, and sidewalks should be cleared for them, too. In this city, it is oftentimes not terribly easy even to walk to get a bus because sidewalks aren’t cleared properly.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted January 02, 2014 at 12:49:41 in reply to Comment 96361

Stephen is absolutely correct that bike lanes are not trivial to anyone who needs to use them.

And wow, such contempt you and LOL show just for asking that bike lanes be cleared when possible, just as with sidewalks.

Do your legs only work when pressing on a gas pedal? Nonsensical at best, foolish at worst.

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[ - ]

By NortheastWind (registered) | Posted December 27, 2013 at 12:16:03

"Bike tax proposed in Chicago" - source: www.heraldandnews.com

"It’s not a new idea. The Netherlands, where a cycling lifestyle has long been the norm, had bike taxes from 1924 to 1941, when the Nazis did away with it in a gesture meant to win over the Dutch.

Hawaii has had a statewide bike registration law for decades, as has the normally tax-hating city of Colorado Springs, Colo., though in both cases, they are one-time fees and all proceeds go toward bicycle infrastructure.

In the case of Colorado Springs, the proposal came from the cycling community itself. The $4 tax on the purchase of new bikes has been in place since 1988, and no one seems to mind. It only raises up to $150,000 a year, but it’s useful as a local match for federal grants. And it gives cycling advocates leverage when pushing for bike projects. For one thing, it has revealed that 25,000 bikes are sold each year, a big number in a city of 430,000."

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2014 at 13:35:39 in reply to Comment 96368

In the case of Colorado Springs, the proposal came from the cycling community itself. The $4 tax on the purchase of new bikes has been in place since 1988, and no one seems to mind. It only raises up to $150,000 a year, but it’s useful as a local match for federal grants. And it gives cycling advocates leverage when pushing for bike projects. For one thing, it has revealed that 25,000 bikes are sold each year, a big number in a city of 430,000."

As a cycling advocate, I actually wouldn't mind this sort of plan just so I could have something to silence the "cyclists need to pay!" types. Of course, I'd hate to give Sean more paperwork to do, and I'll bet the overhead of running the program practically annihilates the revenue.

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