city of toronto snow removal complaints

People are already stressing about Toronto's unplowed sidewalks

After some snowy winter weather reared its ugly head in honour of the dawn of December over the weekend, Toronto pedestrians are finding the city incredibly hard to navigate.

This morning's commute was difficult and treacherous for a number of reasons — a TTC subway fire among them — but it seems that many people found that the city's poorly-kept sidewalks didn't help.

The issue of unplowed sidewalks in the downtown core has been a recurring point of debate, with city council deciding in a meeting at the end of October that it would not further expand Toronto's sidewalk clearing services, which many hoped it might.

Nearly  18 per cent or 1,500 km of sidewalk — mostly located in the downtown core — is not cleared by city services during the winter months, leaving it up to residents and business owners to ensure the public walkways in front of their property are shovelled. They can actually be fined if they don't.

Ward 11 University-Rosedale Councillor Mike Layton wanted Toronto to reconsider the list of streets it does and does not plow, but less than half of council was interested in addressing the issue despite the fact that residents have been complaining about the state of the city's footpaths for many winters.

To the city's credit, along with the added expense factor, some sidewalks in Old Toronto are simply too narrow for its existing fleet of snow clearing vehicles.

Interestingly, Mayor John Tory just launched a pilot program that will see a small selection of previously unplowed sidewalks cleared this winter, especially in areas where there are elederly and disabled populations who request it.

The test includes the addition of eight new, more narrow sidewalk plows that could realistically be used to clear many of the other sidewalks residents are concerned about.

Despite the consistent negative feedback from Torontonians, it seems that sidewalks in downtown Toronto are going to be resuming their usual state of slippery, at times untraversable slush for at least this winter.

The most we can do is hope that the owners of private residences and businesses situated on major streets will do their best to clear their chunks of sidewalk — and maybe invest in some boots with better tread.

Lead photo by

scarboroughcruiser


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