toronto snow

City of Toronto finally vows to clear all sidewalks of snow next winter

For a city that should be extremely well-equipped to deal with snow and ice, Toronto's sidewalks have regularly been a hazard for residents come winter time — and people have not been shy in complaining about it.

In recent years, though some 81 per cent of the city's footpaths are cleared of the white stuff by staffers, the service has been limited to those areas that have wide enough sidewalks for mechanical plows to manoeuver on.

That has left 1,500 km of our 7,900 km of sidewalks uncleared, all of them being in the older parts of the city, a.k.a. the downtown core.

Homeowners in these areas who don't clear the public walkways in front of their homes themselves can actually face fines for something that many believe to be the city's job in the first place.

But, all that is changing this year, with a new plan to tackle winter precipitation across Toronto that will include hitting every sidewalk in every neighbourhood.

After shooting down the idea to expand snow clearing to downtown sidewalks last fall, the city quickly did a 180 and decided that yes, resources should probably be devoted to clearing these busy pedestrian routes for everyone's safety and accessibility.

The move will be made possible by smaller plows that can function on narrower pathways, along with some good ol' fashioned manual shovelling by city employees who will actually be doing "dry runs" of the new snow clearing routes starting this summer.

The city has been studying how to step up such winter services for two years now, and previously launched a pilot to try out the new plow technology, which obviously proved successful.

This will hopefully mean less slips and falls on icy sidewalks, less time spent (and clothing soaked) by trudging through snowy paths, and less complaints from us all about the city's shoddy job of clearing public property.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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