The CBC TV Toronto evening newscast on Feb.15, 2008 started out with a story that “alarming numbers” of people are going to emergency wards because they are slipping down the icy stairs at subway entrances. “Dozens injured on the TTC’s stairwells…Is the TTC doing enough to keep you safe?” the report asked.
Is the TTC [and its riders, for that matter] not aware that it’s winter in Canada?
Are they surprised at all the STORMS, ICE and SNOW??
Do they have their heads that far up Gore’s butt??
The National Post (Feb.15, 2008) wrote that Toronto councillor Michael Walker, a “26-year veteran of City Hall, has rarely seen his constituents as angry as they are today about the city’s snow clearing policies.
In less than two weeks, his office has received more than 1,000 complaints about shoulder-high snowbanks, ice-coated sidewalks and impassable side streets.
“People are out there to lynch politicians over this!” Mr. Walker said. Although Mayor David Miller yesterday announced an aggressive, $20-million emergency plan to cart the snow off side streets, the move comes more than two weeks after the first major blizzard of the year smacked Toronto on Feb. 1.
The mess that Torontonians have slogged through in the meantime raises the questions: What went wrong? Why can’t Canada’s largest city adequately deliver a service as basic as cleaning up after three big snowstorms?
Mr. Walker has a theory. “We’ve dragged our feet up until now,” he says, “because we’ve been hoping beyond hope that all this snow would go away and we’d only have to do a half-ass job.”
City officials are not afraid to admit the councillor has a point. Having grown accustomed to mild winters in which Mother Nature melts the snow after a storm, Toronto has no regular plan to remove snow en masse. The city salts and ploughs, but has not trucked the accumulated white stuff off residential roads in nearly a decade.
The last time Toronto systematically removed snow was the winter of 1999, the year the Canadian military rode to the snowbound city’s rescue.
“Snow removal on side streets is an irregular activity for the city of Toronto, unlike Ottawa or Montreal,” said Peter Noehammer, director of Transportation Services with the city of Toronto. “They not only gear up with equipment and operators, but they also budget accordingly to provide that service. [Snow removal] is a fairly costly occurrence. We don’t treat it lightly and we only undertake it when we absolutely have to.”
So far this month, Mother Nature has not co-operated with Toronto’s laissez-faire approach.
She dumped 70 centimetres of snow on Toronto in the first two weeks of February, smashing the record of 66.6 centimetres for the entire month set back in 1950, said Bob Whitewood, an Environment Canada climatologist.
Major storms walloped the city Feb.1, Feb.6 and Feb.12. After the second storm, the mercury plummeted, freezing the snow as solid as stone.
Although the city’s 200 salt trucks and 600 ploughs — two-thirds of which are operated by private companies — were deployed at full tilt, they were no match for the accumulation.
Problems piled up as fast as the snow. Many side streets, especially those with on-street parking, were reduced to a single lane where drivers were treated to games of low-speed chicken with oncoming traffic. In at least 286 cases, CAA service trucks had to cancel appointments because they could not safely drive down the street where a client was stranded. (However, snowbound cancellations amounted to only 1.6% of the approximately 18,000 calls CAA has responded to in Toronto since the start of February.)
“I think there is certainly room for improvement,” said Faye Lyons, a spokeswoman for CAA. “Both around policies and what they have for equipment.”
All that snow also hurt public transit, shutting down the Scarborough rapid transit line and causing delays on streetcar routes where poorly ploughed streets contributed to drivers parking their vehicles on or too close to the tracks.
Last Sunday, for example, TTC streetcars were delayed 20 times because of cars parked on the tracks. Four of those delays lasted more than 40 minutes, said Gary Webster, the TTC’s chief general manager.
All this explains why Toronto has finally turned to physically trucking out the snow. However, because that step is rare here, the city has not budgeted for it, nor does it have in place long-term policies that could mitigate problems such as getting cars off narrow side streets with parking on both curbs.
The strategy Mr. Miller unveiled yesterday will gobble up nearly a third of the city’s $65-million snow budget.”
And in a couple of months, the global-warming climatalarmists will come out of hibernation (John Moore in his Feb.18 National Post column already has) and begin revving up their political weather-making for another summer.
Little darlin', it's been a long, cold, lonely winter, with snow like we've not seen since 1950.
Let's remember that when the Gorzukions roar.