Recently, there’s been some discussion in the OC Transpo community on Livejournal regarding sidewalks, and what kind of job the city does of clearing them.

Now I’m not in Ottawa right now due to the holidays, so I can’t investigate this at all myself, but I know in the past I’ve found that some sidewalks in even heavily trafficked pedestrian areas like the Market and Sandy Hill are not properly cleared until days after a snowstorm.

So how do you find the sidewalks in winter? Does the City of Ottawa do a good job of clearing snow and ice? Poor? Maybe even a hodge-podge depending what street your on? I’m curious to know what everyone’s experiences have been, and especially how Ottawa compares with other major cities that have to deal with snow.

10 Responses to “Sidewalks”

  1. December 29, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    “Hodgepodge” is a good word for it. The weather seems to be doing a slow and steady attrition – at least up to tonight – on the ice. But wherever you can’t avoid walking on the ice…oh boy!

  2. December 29, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    As for “suburban” regions like Orléans…it’s worse than in the central neighbourhoods. Maybe only by a smidgeon, but the difference in quality is there.

  3. 3 David McClelland
    December 30, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Dwight: Yeah, I noticed that myself when I used to live in Gloucester.

  4. 4 Chris B
    December 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    I think it is all a matter of perspective. I spent the holidays in my native Vancouver, where they received 16 inches of snow (my Dad measured it and he is still imperial). Vancouver has NO sidewalk clearing – commercial buildings and apartments are required to clear their own walks.

    Let me tellyou, I was begging for Ottawa style sidewalk clearing. Walking for 45 minutes through kneedeep snow and slush gets a little wearing.

    More on topic, I find that if the storm is light (less than 10 cm) then the city does a great job. As accumulations mount, they fall behind. Just my experience. If I had one recommendation, it would be to ensure the sidewalks on bus routes (ha ha) are always kept clear, as people have to walk to the bus, by definition.

  5. December 30, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I live downtown, and it really depends on how much snow we get and when. In the mornings just after a snow storm it’s not usually cleared and I end up getting frustrated trying to walk to work in that one step wide gutter that other walkers create. What generally drives me crazy though is trying to cross streets. Usually at cross walks there are very high snow banks helped along by road plows, and it’s tough to scale them.

    But generally, by the time I leave work, all is cleared. But I live downtown, so YMMV.

  6. 6 David McClelland
    December 30, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    April: I share your crosswalk frustration! That’s probably one of my most consistent problems with winter in Ottawa, and I really wish the city would start clearing crosswalks better than they do.

  7. December 31, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Chris B: You’ve pointed up another reason for me to keep an eye on the blog Beyond Robson, which I recently discovered. If this weirdweatherness keeps on hitting Vancouver City and Island, they’re going to need to change a few of the ways they’ve been used to working.

  8. January 13, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I walk about 7km to work – even when there ISN’T a bus strike – and my experience may not be typical. But it seems to me that the main north-south sidewalks are cleared before the main east-west sidewalks. And wealthier neighbourhood are cleared before lower-income neighbourhoods.

  9. 9 David McClelland
    January 13, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    That’s an interesting observation. The wealthy areas versus low-income areas observation doesn’t surprise me (does that make me a cynic?), but north-south before east-west? I wonder why that would be… I’ll have to see if I notice that next time we have a big snow storm.

  10. 10 JC
    January 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I walk from Cathcart to York on Cumberland twice every day and generally on the northern sections find that the sidewalks are plowed first then the road, the southern section has both plowed.

    Weirdly enough, even when this situation occurs, people still insist on the right to walk in the middle of the snow covered road instead of on the plowed sidewalk. I don’t get that. Even when the road is plowed and the sidewalk, why are people on the street?

    Ah well… ever since the huge snowfalls of last year we have had people who just decide to go on the streets instead of the sidewalks because they get away with it.

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