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.
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.
In downtown Toronto, a mother with a toddler in a stroller shouldn't have to rely on the kindness of strangers to get across EVERY intersection after a snowfall. But I do. Piles of snow at every intersection, sidewalks not cleared. Do better @JohnTory @joe_cressy @311Toronto— TOmama (@TOmama43409188) December 2, 2019
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.
so if you live on any one of those other hundreds of streets, you're screwed right? Wow. So much for paying taxes to @cityoftoronto @TO_WinterOps— bigaltoronto (@AllanBSportsFan) December 1, 2019
In case you're wondering about your local road, here's the city's sidewalk map: only sidewalks highlighted red will be plowed.
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.
I slipped on an unkempt sidewalk last winter and now have what is likely a lifelong brain injury. I am terrified to walk in Toronto this winter because I cannot imagine what my life will become if I slip again. Thanks @JohnTory 👍 https://t.co/kloBBOeUmI— whatkaileysaid (@whatkaileysaid) October 29, 2019
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.
The pathways in Trinity-Bellwoods are cleared of snow better than 95% of major sidewalks in Toronto. 😐— Evan Munday (@idontlikemunday) December 2, 2019
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.
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