Sidewalk Ploughing

City snow ploughing on Brookdale Ave. Photo Mark Garscadden

The snow may be gone, but we know it will return!  So, if shovelling snow doesn’t make you smile, then you may be happy to learn that seven streets in our neighborhood were included in a City sidewalk snow clearing pilot project.  The project has now completed its second year and will evaluate the feasibility of clearing narrow, residential sidewalks.  At issue is whether Metro Toronto’s sidewalk snow clearing service should be extended to all areas of the City.

Nine trial areas, including part of Bedford Park, were selected for the study.  The pilot project inventoried sidewalk widths, obstructions and other obstacles, such as utility poles, planters, retaining walls and on-street parking adjacent to the sidewalk. This inventory, and the results of the sidewalk snow clearing trial, will be used to determine if it is possible to bring mechanical sidewalk clearing to parts of the City that do not currently receive it and what resources would be required.

Sidewalks are ploughed when there is two cm of accumulation and the snow has stopped falling, or when icy conditions dictate.  Residents in the study area reported that the program is working very well and are pleased with the level of service.

The City currently ploughs about 5,800 km of Metro Toronto’s 7,029 km of sidewalks (approximately 80 percent).  The question of whether to plough all sidewalks in Metro has been hotly debated for years.  The issue goes back to the amalgamation of the six municipalities (Toronto, North York, York, East York, Etobicoke and Scarborough) in 1998 when some boroughs had sidewalk snow clearing and others did not.   This inequity persisted after amalgamation.  The pilot project will determine whether all Metro streets can be brought up to the same standard of care.

The matter will be considered again by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee once a report has been prepared by staff.  Our municipal Councillor, Mike Colle, has indicated that he supports City-wide sidewalk snow clearing and will be advocating for this on our behalf.  Fingers crossed that all of Bedford Park will finally have sidewalk ploughing.

If you feel strongly about this issue, email your support for fair treatment to:

Bedford Park streets in the snow clearing pilot project. Map: City of Toronto Transportation Services Road Operations.