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Winter Walking and Cycling
#1
Since it's that time of the year, a thread for winter cycling and walking issues.

Lets start with a stupid ridiculous hole in the trail network:

   

As you can see, the Hillside trail goes all the way ALMOST to Marsland.  When there is no snow, I bike around the closed Hillside park and through the parking lot.  However, the end of that trail, right now, is a locked gate.  The parking lot I normally bike through (mind you, not the parking lot for the park, which is plowed) has 30 cms of snow on it right now.

Literally, it is the stupidest use of resources one might imagine, plowing the entire route then closing it in behind a locked gate.
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#2
Is there a phone number to call? Has this happened in previous years?
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#3
(12-13-2016, 12:30 PM)nms Wrote: Is there a phone number to call? Has this happened in previous years?

Sadly, Waterloo doesn't seem to have a single point of contact as Kitchener does.  I started by calling bylaw, they suggested I call the Parks Department, and I got a hold of a person there who indicated that their plowing route had been closed by security guards who have been informed not to close this route.  Apparently it should be corrected now.
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#4
Also in the news, apparently Kitchener has decided it will actually maintain the Spur Line Trail this year.  I wasn't aware that was even a possibility that wouldn't happen.  Ahh politics.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We have committed to maintaining <a href="https://twitter.com/RegionWaterloo">@RegionWaterloo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SpurLineTrail?src=hash">#SpurLineTrail</a> for the remainder of the season until a maintenance agreement has been made.</p>&mdash; City of Kitchener (@CityKitchener) <a href="https://twitter.com/CityKitchener/status/808760960399921152">December 13, 2016</a></blockquote>
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#5
Helpful References I Might Need Later:

Waterloo:
In Waterloo, "residents and businesses have 24 hours from the stop of snowfall to clear their sidewalks". It is unclear if you can complain about a sidewalk that hasn't been shovelled since 24 hours after [i]any[i] snowfall ends or if you have to wait for a 24 hour-wide break in precipitation to complain. I'm treating it as the former. (ref. http://www.waterloo.ca/en/living/sidewalkclearing.asp)

To report a segment of Region-owned sidewalk/trail as not being cleared: call 519-886-2310 (7:00am-4:30pm, Mon-Fri) or on Twitter @citywaterloo (I think this is 0830-1630, M-F)
To report privately-owned sidewalk that hasn't been cleared: email snowandice@waterloo.ca or call 519-747-6280

Kitchener:
Reports of non-cleared sidewalks "should not be made until 24 hours has passed from the end of the snowfall." (ref. https://www.kitchener.ca/en/livinginkitc...earing.asp)

Call 519-741-2345 (which is the normal City of Kitchener phone number)

Cambridge:
The City of Cambridge "Snow Clearing By-law requires all property owners to clear the snow from the sidewalks bordering their property within 36 hours after a snowfall." The map shows streets for which the City takes responsibility. Their website of information is very thorough. (ref. http://www.cambridge.ca/en/learn-about/W...owing.aspx )

You can report issues of city-responsible sidewalks not being cleared by calling the Community Services department at (519) 740-4681 or reporting it online.
You can report issues of privately-owned sidewalks not being cleared of snow and ice by calling (519) 621-0740 ext. 7907

---

Please join me in complaining about every segment of city- or privately-owned walkway that goes unshovelled. If cities in the region are going to treat "Number of Complaints" as a key metric for how bad of a time pedestrians are having in Winter, then we should give them the best count we can.
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#6
Worth reviving this thread now that we're into winter again. Aside from useful phone numbers, TriTAG has also released their sidewalk survey results.

http://www.tritag.ca/blog/2018/01/04/win...alk-study/

It will come to nobody's surprise that the results are not positive for mobility in the winter months, walking anything more than a trivial distance gives a very high probability of finding a blocked sidewalk.

I walk to work many days in the winter, and I doubt there is a day in the white part of winter, when there isn't a blocked sidewalk. I have a coworker who is in a wheelchair and he is unable to reliably get to work in the winter, and as far as I understand, doesn't even bother to try to wheel his way there as he does all spring summer and fall.

City of Waterloo staff have acknowledged to me that the policy for curb ramps is that nobody clears them, essentially meaning the official policy is that sidewalks are closed for the season in winter.

This is especially timely as this article just came out: https://www.therecord.com/news-story/803...-the-road/

Where a pedestrian is charged with walking on the road, and police remind us to use sidewalks.

Few people willingly choose to walk on the road, but how many times have I seen people in mobility scooters, elderly people, even people with walkers, in the terrifying position of walking down a lane on a busy road, getting honked at by motorists wizzing past.
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#7
The timing of the snow fall has been unfortunate this year- I imagine that, since it was Christmas, a lot of property owners didn’t figure they really had to, and had been spoiled that there hadn’t been much snow at all until then. Plenty have not been done this week, almost two weeks since the only significant snowfalls we’ve really had.

I can’t currently take my kids to the grocery store because the walkway there (no-man’s stretch between Lindwood Ave and Central Market) is not really anyone’s responsibility, and doesn’t get cleared. Actually, it’s kind of being used for snow storage.

Getting anywhere pushing a stroller is at least a workout right now anyway.

I was told the same thing by the City of Waterloo regarding ramps, and that’s among the biggest challenges. Getting down the sidewalk when it’s covered with snow pack is a pain, but if one is then faced with a potentially foot-high mound of snow at the corner, it can be insurmountable.

I remember calling about a property with this situation last year, saying that they had cleared, but then the plow had made the corner inaccessible. The staff member retorted “well, that’s not really the property owner’s fault, is it?”

It's a real shame that the police felt the need to add insult to injury in the case of that collision victim.
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#8
(01-04-2018, 11:11 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: City of Waterloo staff have acknowledged to me that the policy for curb ramps is that nobody clears them, essentially meaning the official policy is that sidewalks are closed for the season in winter.

This sounds like an AODA violation to me. Unfortunately IANAL so that’s a non-expert opinion, but I believe the curbs are there because they are required for accessibility, so I don’t see how their policy can legally be that they are unusable for 1/3 or so of the year. A building wouldn’t be allowed to have their elevator out of service December-March every year.
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#9
(01-04-2018, 11:35 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I remember calling about a property with this situation last year, saying that they had cleared, but then the plow had made the corner inaccessible. The staff member retorted “well, that’s not really the property owner’s fault, is it?”

Right, it’s the City’s, i.e. their colleagues', fault.
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#10
What I have an issue with: I risk getting charged if I don’t scrape my sidewalk down to the bare dry concrete... but the Region leaves more than half of the MUT’s completely unmaintained.

This is why I’ll never call anyone in for not shoveling: I almost feel like everyone should just stop shoveling for a week to force the Region to make sidewalk clearing by them a thing.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#11
(01-04-2018, 11:41 AM)ijmorlan Wrote:
(01-04-2018, 11:35 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I remember calling about a property with this situation last year, saying that they had cleared, but then the plow had made the corner inaccessible. The staff member retorted “well, that’s not really the property owner’s fault, is it?”

Right, it’s the City’s, i.e. their colleagues', fault.

I was too polite to say that. But, yes...

One thing that has improved so far this year is that the plows seem less apt to cover half of an entire length of sidewalk with snow when there is no boulevard. I used to live on a street with no boulevard, and it was a pain when that happened. And plenty of property owners will just let the sidewalk get increasingly narrow when it happens.
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#12
(01-04-2018, 12:01 PM)MidTowner Wrote:
(01-04-2018, 11:41 AM)ijmorlan Wrote: Right, it’s the City’s, i.e. their colleagues', fault.

I was too polite to say that. But, yes...

One thing that has improved so far this year is that the plows seem less apt to cover half of an entire length of sidewalk with snow when there is no boulevard. I used to live on a street with no boulevard, and it was a pain when that happened. And plenty of property owners will just let the sidewalk get increasingly narrow when it happens.

I wonder if this is not simply because there hasn't yet been the same accumulation we have by later in the year.  Last year I recall some waist high snowbanks that I had to climb up to cross roads...frankly, it was dangerous even for an able bodied person like me.

The biggest "insult to injury" part of this issue that I've seen was CoK staff's report on sidewalk clearing which suggested they would get "more complaints" with sidewalk plowing, without acknowledging that those complaints would be "oh no, the plow scraped my grass" instead of "help I'm stuck in my house and I cannot get to my job/appointments/food because the sidewalks are blocked".
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#13
(01-04-2018, 11:11 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: Worth reviving this thread now that we're into winter again.  Aside from useful phone numbers, TriTAG has also released their sidewalk survey results.

http://www.tritag.ca/blog/2018/01/04/win...alk-study/

It will come to nobody's surprise that the results are not positive for mobility in the winter months, walking anything more than a trivial distance gives a very high probability of finding a blocked sidewalk.

I walk to work many days in the winter, and I doubt there is a day in the white part of winter, when there isn't a blocked sidewalk.  I have a coworker who is in a wheelchair and he is unable to reliably get to work in the winter, and as far as I understand, doesn't even bother to try to wheel his way there as he does all spring summer and fall.

City of Waterloo staff have acknowledged to me that the policy for curb ramps is that nobody clears them, essentially meaning the official policy is that sidewalks are closed for the season in winter.

This is especially timely as this article just came out: https://www.therecord.com/news-story/803...-the-road/

Where a pedestrian is charged with walking on the road, and police remind us to use sidewalks.

Few people willingly choose to walk on the road, but how many times have I seen people in mobility scooters, elderly people, even people with walkers, in the terrifying position of walking down a lane on a busy road, getting honked at by motorists wizzing past.

CTV clip with video of the street/sidewalk:
https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1296593
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#14
The staff report was bizarre in how it discussed complaints. It estimated that complaints about City-maintained sidewalks would increase from 88 to over 1000. But the number of complaints in 15/16 was 902 (there were more than 2500 in 14/15). They are making a distinction between complaints made concerning City-maintained sidewalks, and those made concerning property owner-maintained sidewalks, and I can't understand why.
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#15
So an increase from 990 (902 + 88) to over 1000. That's an increase of over 1%!
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