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Winter Walking and Cycling
#61
I thought I posted this earlier, but it doesn't look like it went through.

Apparently the current GRT contractor for snow removal is Forestell Designed Landscapes. They got the contact for November 15, 2015 to April 15, 2020 for $114,783.40 for each month their services are needed in.

The actual requirements from the bid document (T2015-220 Snow Removal – Grand River Transit Bus Stops) state that "the contractor shall commence ploughing of snow and removal of snow/ice from all bus stops including sidewalk connections...the first evening upon notification by the Region...this will be completed within 72 hours of a snowfall of 50mm...from the time of commencement, the ploughing of all bus stops shall be completed within 48 hours...hard surfaces are to be cleaned to the bare pavement..."

So it sounds like the contactor has 72 hours to start ploughing every stop and has another 48 hours to finish ploughing each stop. So five days total to clear all stops down to the pavement.

It seems this is playing out. All of the stops along Belmont, Highland to Union, have had snow moved, but no where close to down to the pavement. It seems as though the contractor is using some sort of Bobcat and they only clear areas it can fit in, which is not much when you consider the geometry of a bus stop sign pole, shelter, utility poles, etc. The end result is that snow actually gets piled up in front of shelters of along the road way or sidewalk worse than it was before the "cleaning." Almost like the contractor is just ticking the box, "yup, started clearing the snow within 72 hours" to buy themselves an extra 48 hours to get it down to the pavement (or hope for foot traffic and a thaw to finish the job for them). 

Highland at Patricia:
   

Highland at Ruby:
   

Belmont at Union:
   


This is an example of misplaced effort on the city's part, Woodside Ave (west side):
   

Because Woodside Park is city property the city plows the sidewalk, but the sidewalk doesn't actually connect to anything (there is about 5m gap between the end of the sidewalk and the sidewalks inside townhouse complex). But it is one of the cleanest stretches of sidewalk in town (I think because the plow often goes down, turns around, and goes back on the same side).
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
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#62
(01-10-2018, 08:51 PM)danbrotherston Wrote:
(01-10-2018, 08:17 PM)Canard Wrote: Oh, absolutely - but two posts above mine are saying how evil cars are.  It's tiresome, and has nothing to do with this topic.  So I can chime in and also say things that have nothing to do with this topic in defense.

No, the two posts above yours are about how forcing people to own cars and be dependent on them is evil.  I like cars, I like racing cars, I do not want to be forced to own a car and be dependent on it to get around.

Nobody is trying to make you feel like a dick for owning a car or liking a car.   We're only trying to make people feel like a dick for FORCING OTHER people to own a car.  That isn't you.

Nobody used the word 'evil.' I was agreeing with your statement that, to get around safely in Waterloo Region the way things are organized, you unfortunately in practice have to buy a car. It's really a shame, and I think a lot of people's lives would be dramatically improved if they had the option not to own one.
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#63
(01-10-2018, 10:19 PM)embe Wrote: Looking at it from a different way, there are other parts of the world where mass transit and walking, biking, etc are a lot easier.  Very true.  

That being said, South Western Ontario contends with snow(!) and other challenges.  Using a car, shovelling sidewalks, and waiting for a train is par for the course.  If it bothered me that much it would make perfect sense to move somewhere else where it wouldn't be an issue.

You didn't quite say "if you don't like the way things are, move," so thanks for that. There's no reason using a car need be par for the course here in winter. There's no reason someone should each winter have to consider whether they should buy a car, or "move somewhere else."

Nobody here is complaining about "snow." The complaints are about the fact that we are not collectively maintaining our transportation infrastructure in winter. And it's obvious that it's possible.

The reason the comparison between the way car infrastructure is maintained versus the way human infrastructure is maintained is because it's so obvious. We can plow a twenty-five-foot-wide street for cars by the morning after a snowfall, but a five-foot-wide sidewalk directly adjacent might not be entirely clear a single time in a season. It's not an immutable law that results in this; it's our priorities, and they're askew.
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#64
Talked to GRT this morning, I am now read the policy by the CSR, 72 hours to start, 48 hours to clear...5 days clear bus stops, next storm is forecast by then, 0 days with cleared bus stops.

We're spending half a million dollars to pretend that bus stops will be clear.
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#65
On Twitter, January 9th when people started complaining to GRT about snow removal they were responding "It may take a day or two for our contractor to clear all the stops after a heavy snowfall". But since January 10th they haven't responded to any of the many tweets directed at them about snow clearing. They've certainly never posted anything about a 5 day deadline.
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#66
Definitely worth pointing out to council and media outlets. If we take transit seriously, this is unacceptable. Ask any driver if it would work for their employment to have the roads be passable 5 days after a snowfall, and they'll rightly think you're bonkers.

Canard, to put another way, we aren't demonizing cars. We know a lot of people need them or want them, but they aren't and shouldn't be a necessity. They are the most well-served group in the country, compared to those who walk, bike, or take transit. I would compare it to, from my personal experience with family members, pushing for gay marriage in Canada. A great majority are served by heterosexual marriage, but indeed that is not for all groups. Championing equitable treatment for civil unions, gay marriage, and other forms of coupling isn't meant to say that heterosexual marriage is wrong; we just know that it doesn't work for everyone, but we know what alternatives would work for the rest, and we know it shouldn't be so hard or such a burden to treat the other groups equitably as well.
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#67
All the bus stops I passed on the way to work were clear today. That being said, the rain forecast for tonight meant I didn't cycle today and the only walking I did was from destination to bus stop and back, so maybe I should put it in the GRT thread...

Anyhoo. That seems a preposterously-large amount of money for a weak contract of service. I have nothing to compare it to, though. I wonder what the quote would be for "Begin clearing within 12 hours of snow accumulation of 50mm or more, to be completed within the following 48".

And how much it'd be for "Snow removal to be completed before 4pm that same day or 7am the following morning, whichever is earlier"
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#68
The thing that irks me is that the landscape service almost certainly has business clients who do get their parking lots cleared as soon as snow starts to accumulate. Evidently clearing for transit, which thousands of people depend on, is a lower priority than commercial clients.
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#69
(01-11-2018, 02:22 PM)jamincan Wrote: The thing that irks me is that the landscape service almost certainly has business clients who do get their parking lots cleared as soon as snow starts to accumulate. Evidently clearing for transit, which thousands of people depend on, is a lower priority than commercial clients.

...which thousands of people "depend" on? For a different value of "depend" assuredly, but not so different if the commercial client is a governmental agency, hospital, or bus/train station.

But yes, we certainly treat bus stops, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes worse than malls treat their parking lots. And that is sad.

How do we fix it?
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#70
Please don’t call it “gay marriage”.

It’s “marriage”.

(I’m married, not “gay married” - and I’m kind of just joking with you since our discussion about LRV gender, or lack thereof) Tongue
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#71
And that's the point, Canard. Transportation options should be accessible in winter. But we divide them into plowing roads, plowing sidewalks, plowing cycling lanes, and plowing transit stops, when really, it should all be plowing transportation routes, and the elements needed to make a transportation choice accessible. There shouldn't be a difference, just like with marriage, whoever the lovebirds are.
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#72
And likewise I should be able to enjoy riding my bike 5000 km a year and not be made to feel like I’m a horrible person for also having a car so I can drive 10 times that distance in the same interval, exploring this beautiful country of ours in places where transit doesn’t reach.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#73
I hope absolutely no one feels like a horrible person reading this thread (unless they are personally responsible for not making transportation available to all), in just the same way I don't feel horrible on the roads threads even though I'd rather be at the dentist than driving any distance.
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#74
(01-11-2018, 04:30 PM)Canard Wrote: And likewise I should be able to enjoy riding my bike 5000 km a year and not be made to feel like I’m a horrible person for also having a car so I can drive 10 times that distance in the same interval, exploring this beautiful country of ours in places where transit doesn’t reach.

Indeed, society seems so intent on categorizing people as 'cyclists' or 'drivers' when someone like yourself fits easily in both categories. It's very short-sighted.
My Twitter: @KevinLMaps
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#75
Or me. I drive hundreds of kilometers a month, have driven from sea to shining sea, put plenty of kilometers on the bike in the summer (maybe winter in time...), and currently walk half an hour to and from work each day. But what am I? Someone who needs to transport himself from place to place, and so I want support for all transportation modes, and we're decidedly behind in all ways that don't begin with automobile transportation. Which is not an attack on or demonization of drivers, just a statement of the reality, that all other modes need increased attention and increased efforts in ways driving doesn't.
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