City expands sidewalk snow clearing

On Monday city council approved adding 8.9 kilometres of sidewalk to the city's snow clearing plan.

The sidewalks on 39 streets, or sections of streets, were part of the 20 km of sidewalk currently not cleared by the city out of the 200 km total in the city. The cost of the added service was estimated at $49,900, which will be absorbed by the city's total $7 million snow clearing budget.

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"For me, this is a no-brainer," Coun. Jillian Merrick said. "Just because some sidewalks weren't built very well for snow clearing doesn't abdicate us of the responsibility of clearing it."

In a report to city council, city general manager of engineering and public works Dave Dyer wrote that there are a couple main reason why some sidewalks aren't plowed.

For offset sidewalks separated from the street by a boulevard, plowing the sidewalk can create banks of snow on either side - trapping melt water on the sidewalk and creating hazardous conditions.

"The challenges in new subdivisions is the size of the driveways and lack of area of snow," city roads and fleet division manager Blake McIntosh told council on Monday.

Additional snow hauling would be needed in some of those areas because the small yards leave little room to deposit snow.

Some sidewalks in remote areas aren't plowed because of the travel time for equipment and the lack of connections to other sidewalks, McIntosh said.

"We tried to base the candidates (for plowing) based on their relative linkages to major routes," he said.

Clearing sidewalks in some areas with sidewalks only on one side of the street will mean changing the street plowing practices to plow all the snow to the side of the street without the sidewalk.

"I think any enhanced clearing of sidewalks will be a positive, Coun. Murry Krause said.

Krause said he's heard from senior citizens who say they often feel trapped in their homes during the winter months because the sidewalks aren't safe to walk.

The city's snow clearing policy, approved in October 2014, says that sidewalks downtown and along main arterial roadways will be cleared when snow accumulation exceeds 50 mm.

"Sidewalks in the areas of schools and seniors' group housing will be plowed, where possible," the policy says. "Sidewalks in all other locations will be plowed as work schedules permit and if snow storage is available."

Sections or the entire length of the following streets will now have their sidewalks plowed: Eugene Road, Tygg Court, Chartwell Avenue, Westmount Drive, Embree Place, Vista Ridge Drive, Vista View Road, Greyshell Road, Vista Rise Road, Creekside Way, Stillwater Crescent, Loedel Crescent, Hough Place, Marnie Place, Maurice Drive, Chancellor Boulevard, Grafton Place, Rowe Street, Carmicheal Street, Parkside Drive, Parkview Crescent, Gannet Road, Omineca Place, Abruzzi Place, Orizaba Court, Monarch Court, Montieth Court, Logan Crescent, Barnes Drive, Ellington Avenue, Davis Road, Cameron Street Bridge, Strom Place, Bic Drive, Tara Place, Clubhouse Drive, Links Drive, McTavish Road and Dawson Road.

Approximately 11.1 km of sidewalks in the city will still not be plowed.

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