plow to toronto

Anger grows as Toronto snow clearing leaves pedestrians and cyclists in the lurch

Plows are out in full force as Toronto cleans up the aftermath of a historic blizzard that hit the city hard on Monday, but anger is mounting as crews rush to clear roads, seemingly at the cost of sidewalks and cycling paths.

It's becoming easier for motorists to get around the city by the hour as road conditions improve and the cleanup effort reaches smaller sidestreets previously walled off by snow after the blizzard. But as roads clear up, pedestrians and cyclists still face struggles, and in many cases, road clearing is making matters much worse for those who don't drive.

Twitter has been aflame with reports of already-cleared sidewalks and bike lanes buried as plows clear adjacent roads. It's an issue that some prominent voices on social media chalk up to city policy, which allegedly places precedence on cars over people.

For anyone requiring a mobility device or otherwise physically unable to scale these mountains of snow, the only option is to turn around and go home.

Many who are determined to get where they are going have been resorting to the only option city plows have left them, risking it all by walking into the street to navigate the towering snowbanks.

And if you're a parent who gets around on foot with a baby or infant, that stroller might not make it far, even a full 48 hours after the storm reached its peak.

Even parents of older children are speaking out in anger, as crosswalks remain obstructed while kids return to school for the first time since the start of the new year.

If you don't have kids in tow or require a mobility device, that still doesn't mean getting to your destination on foot is a realistic goal, with even the most physically fit likely to struggle against these icy obstacles.

Tensions between urban cycling/pedestrian advocates and the car-dependent communities surrounding the city centre are nothing new. The former group has fought for safety and accessibility, and the latter camp has pushed back against growing inconveniences with cries of a "war on cars."

This outcry against cars allegedly being given priority is just the latest in this years-long back and forth.

Lead photo by

Alain Bédard

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