Transit riders and drivers alike are wondering when snow piled around City bus stops will be cleared to ensure safety.
“I’ve lived here many years and it’s the worst I’ve seen it,” said Doris Finlay. “I have friends who ride the bus and it’s not just me who has complained.”
Residual snow from street plows has accumulated around the stops, making them hazardous for passengers, particularly the elderly.
The risk is greater on busy roads such as Hugh Allan Drive, where people are forced to stand in the street as they wait for a bus. A bus driver told her that he wished people would phone in complaints en masse to get the problem fixed.
Kristen Meersman, streets and capital project manager, said the line hasn’t been ringing off the hook with complaints, but there have been a few. The snow removal effort has some catch-up to do after successive heavy snowfalls earlier in the week.
“It has primarily been a result of us trying to get caught up,” she said on Friday. “It is one of our priorities but not our highest.”
Arterial roads are the highest snow-removal priority, followed by connector route and bus routes, then side streets.
Evidently the City was making progress on Friday. The stops were cleared to allow boarding but the snow was still piled, preventing safe exit from rear doors.
Other residents complained of a more common affliction after snow clearing: the windrows that block driveways and turn to ice once freezing sets in.
Tyler Schell, a Batchelor resident, called the City to complain about the wall of snow that locks him out of his driveway. The problem is compounded in cul-de-sacs, where the plows leave windrows extending two to three metres into the road, he said.
“It drives me nuts because they’ve been doing this for years,” he said. “Everybody I talk to tells me the same thing.”
Meersman said she’s familiar with that issue because she lives on a cul-de-sac. Typically, the problem stems from residents piling snow at the foot of their driveways, preventing plows from making closer passes, she said.
“They swing around the piles and the snowplows get pushed further and further out into the street.”
Residents need to pile the snow in their yards, which enables the plows to clear to the curb, she said.
It’s too soon to know whether the City’s snow removal budget will be sufficient this season, Meersman said. In 2012, 95 per cent of the $1.7 million budgeted was needed.