Local businesses and residents have dug themselves out from under the fast-melting remainder of the biggest snowstorm in five years. They have not all cleared their sidewalks, however. A week later the sunny side of the street was generally fine, yet Torontonians with strollers struggled through rough patches treating them like dune buggies. While some strollers are designed to take abuse, they represent the minority, and the extra workout for mom or dad is not always appreciated. As it melts and refreezes, snow which was originally passable becomes bumpier and more difficult to get through, so that as days pass the slogging does not necessarily ease.
Most businesses are responsible, with good reason. There is legal compulsion as well as basic decency, so residences seem to front the majority of impassable sidewalk stretches. Not all business are equally diligent, to be sure, so parents usually have no choice but to take their chances on the walking route they would normally take, or forgo the walk altogether. The majority of Toronto business and many residents performed this basic civic duty in fairly timely fashion after the storm.
City vehicles plow city sidewalks as well as streets, and in some areas city workers effectively cleared literally kilometers of sidewalks and pedestrian paths even before all the cars were dug out. In some other cases, inevitably, good intentions had unhelpful results. Major snowstorms, like practically all other major events in Toronto, highlight ongoing infrastructure problems to those who travel about their communities – like young families. When city streets and sidewalks are narrow, as in the slideshow picture of the residence on Gerrard, plows can undo many shovelfuls of work in an instant, which in turn could be discouraging them from going out and doing their part (or at least provide an excuse).
This winter annoyance is an issue for people in other northern cities, and is surely much worse in other Canadian cities which get more snow. The lack of snow, however, seems to make people complacent, or perhaps forgetful of their responsibilities. While no-one should be expected to risk a heart-attack to ‘clear the ice’(link alert: hilarious '80s TV spot with Wendall Clark and Loyd Moseby), neglecting to deal with it can have consequences. Now that Toronto basically doesn’t get snow in December anymore, it is only really for 2 months each year anyway.