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Winter Walking and Cycling
(02-18-2018, 10:18 PM)Pheidippides Wrote: I just came across the Ion's service standards for snow removal at the stations. Looks like the region negotiated much a better standard that has some teeth (penalties) - although it is for a limited number of stops, not like the 100s of GRT stops.

As far as I can tell response time is the time to identify the problem (snow/ice accumulation) and assign the work to someone. Rectification is the time to resolve the problem (snow accumulation).

That does seem to be an aggressive standard, and this kind of thing is important, I'm glad the region recognizes it.  Sadly, the same won't be true for the sidewalks leading up to the stations.
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An interesting point-of-view I recently heard when I started preaching my position on sidewalk clearing is: what do we do with the seasonal work?

The assumption is that we need skilled labour to actually clear the sidewalks, but then we'd need to offer them a compelling reason to take a seasonal job (no snow in summer). It's all well and good that $30 will buy us winter sidewalk maintenance... but do we also need to factor in paying workers year-round? Or paying them more because we _won't_ be hiring them year-round?

My position was that this is a difficult problem _worth solving_ because nobody wants pedestrians to chose to walk on the roads. Maybe there'd be some summer work as well. Maybe there's a skilled labour surplus and this isn't even an issue. Maybe the amount of labour needed to clear sidewalks to a reasonable standard is lower than we expect. But I'm not happy with my answer, as I didn't have anything solid to offer.

Does anyone have any details on this angle?
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(02-20-2018, 01:56 PM)chutten Wrote: An interesting point-of-view I recently heard when I started preaching my position on sidewalk clearing is: what do we do with the seasonal work?

The assumption is that we need skilled labour to actually clear the sidewalks, but then we'd need to offer them a compelling reason to take a seasonal job (no snow in summer). It's all well and good that $30 will buy us winter sidewalk maintenance... but do we also need to factor in paying workers year-round? Or paying them more because we _won't_ be hiring them year-round?

My position was that this is a difficult problem _worth solving_ because nobody wants pedestrians to chose to walk on the roads. Maybe there'd be some summer work as well. Maybe there's a skilled labour surplus and this isn't even an issue. Maybe the amount of labour needed to clear sidewalks to a reasonable standard is lower than we expect. But I'm not happy with my answer, as I didn't have anything solid to offer.

Does anyone have any details on this angle?

I'd point out a few things, first, if we're talking city workers, the estimated cost in theory included that.

But if we're talking general labor pool, the point is moot.  Landscapers generally do snow clearing in the winter, and other outdoor work in the summer.  Generally there's no lack of year round work.

In terms of sidewalk clearing, it isn't even necessarily the case that there's a huge shift in the general labor pool.  We *already* have sidewalk clearing, we just doing it in the most labor intensive and inefficient way of doing so.  Now I realize that most homeowners won't be jumping into snowplows.  But many sidewalks *are* cleared by paid workers driving snow plows.  I'm not sure if the general labor pool will see *any* shift in employment given how much more efficient sidewalk plowing is, than having every business hire an individual contractor who drives all the way to their business (passing hundreds or thousands of sidewalks on the way) to plow 20 meters of sidewalk, and then drive back.  Even the city does this, they have half a dozen or more sidewalk plows which drive all over the city just to plow a few small isolated segments of sidewalks.   Imagine if they simply drove *on* the sidewalk with the plow down.

The fact is, the system we have now is *so* bad, not only in its results (we can't ever safely walk places), but in its efficiency, it's hilarious that fiscal conservatives are so supportive of the existing system.
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The City operates 13 routes to clear the ~200 kilometres of sidewalk (of ~1200 total) that it does clear. I don’t know many employees are needed to do these routes, but let’s say a few more (but not many more) than 13 operators.

To clear all of the snow, the City estimates it would need to triple the number of routes, to 30. Maybe another 20 operators or so? It’s just not enough to have much of an impact at all on the labour market at large.
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If they are hired full time for the entire year they would probably need less seasonal summer student employees which I believe are partially federal government subsidized.
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(02-20-2018, 02:02 PM)danbrotherston Wrote:
(02-20-2018, 01:56 PM)chutten Wrote: An interesting point-of-view I recently heard when I started preaching my position on sidewalk clearing is: what do we do with the seasonal work?

The assumption is that we need skilled labour to actually clear the sidewalks, but then we'd need to offer them a compelling reason to take a seasonal job (no snow in summer). It's all well and good that $30 will buy us winter sidewalk maintenance... but do we also need to factor in paying workers year-round? Or paying them more because we _won't_ be hiring them year-round?

My position was that this is a difficult problem _worth solving_ because nobody wants pedestrians to chose to walk on the roads. Maybe there'd be some summer work as well. Maybe there's a skilled labour surplus and this isn't even an issue. Maybe the amount of labour needed to clear sidewalks to a reasonable standard is lower than we expect. But I'm not happy with my answer, as I didn't have anything solid to offer.

Does anyone have any details on this angle?

I'd point out a few things, first, if we're talking city workers, the estimated cost in theory included that.

But if we're talking general labor pool, the point is moot.  Landscapers generally do snow clearing in the winter, and other outdoor work in the summer.  Generally there's no lack of year round work.

In terms of sidewalk clearing, it isn't even necessarily the case that there's a huge shift in the general labor pool.  We *already* have sidewalk clearing, we just doing it in the most labor intensive and inefficient way of doing so.  Now I realize that most homeowners won't be jumping into snowplows.  But many sidewalks *are* cleared by paid workers driving snow plows.  I'm not sure if the general labor pool will see *any* shift in employment given how much more efficient sidewalk plowing is, than having every business hire an individual contractor who drives all the way to their business (passing hundreds or thousands of sidewalks on the way) to plow 20 meters of sidewalk, and then drive back.  Even the city does this, they have half a dozen or more sidewalk plows which drive all over the city just to plow a few small isolated segments of sidewalks.   Imagine if they simply drove *on* the sidewalk with the plow down.

The fact is, the system we have now is *so* bad, not only in its results (we can't ever safely walk places), but in its efficiency, it's hilarious that fiscal conservatives are so supportive of the existing system.

You should not be worrying about snow when you are on a cruise  Tongue
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Well, I hate to bring this thread back up, but I grabbed a photo I thought was worthy.

Many have pointed out that in other parts of the world, brushes are used to do snow clearing, and they are very effective.

Well, we do that here too:

   

We just need to choose to do it everywhere.  No outside the box thinking necessary.
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(04-06-2018, 02:45 PM)danbrotherston Wrote: We just need to choose to do it everywhere.  No outside the box thinking necessary.

I think sweeping is great! It gets the snow clear right down to pavement.

Agreed about the outside the box thinking. In this specific case, appeals to creativity and innovation are just excuses not to do what obviously should be done.
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Just because I feel like a record of these things is important (and I'd like even more opportunity to vent) this post gives the information on sidewalk clearing.

For context, main road in Waterloo Region were completely clear as of Monday morning. My coworker drove in from Guelph with incident or even slowness.

Sidewalks however, are completely 100% blocked. I walked from my workplace, down King from Columbia down to Downtown, and only one block from Green St. to Andrews St. was cleared. Every single other block had at least one property or curb cut that was uncleared.

Kitchener bylaw enforcement did not go out Tuesday on account of the 1-2 cm of snow that fell on Monday.

They went out Wednesday, and give property owners 24 hours to clear snow. After 24 hours (assuming no snow) they will go out and inspect again and put in requests for snow clearing. That will be Friday. I am told that they will not clear snow on the weekend, so Monday is the first day that snow *could* be cleared (again assuming no flurries of any kind).

This is a run out the clock situation for property owners. Given the current weather forecast, snow will have melted by Monday. The city bylaw will have done absolutely nothing to clear any sidewalk in the city.

For the city of Waterloo, things are even worse. Some city trails remain uncleared even this afternoon.

Worse, I have been unable to contact ANYONE at city of Waterloo snow removal bylaw for a statement. I can get no information on what is being enforced or when.

Those are the facts.

Here's a strong opinion...the bylaw and enforcement is a tax paid for program that pretends to do something about snow removal without actually doing anything.

This will be my ONLY election issue. I will give my vote to anyone who I believe will work to improve snow removal, and I will not vote for ANYONE who doesn't convince me of this.

I cannot accept watching another elderly or disabled person be carried onto a city bus because they cannot scale the snow bank at the bus stop. I cannot accept trying to help an elderly person over a snow bank to get to the grocery store across the street from their house.

This is not something we should or need to tolerate in our society. Anyone who isn't willing to spend 26 dollars a year in additional taxes to stop this is a cruel and selfish person. I'm happy to disagree on the methods, but the current situation is utterly broken, that isn't up for debate, and there is no need for "creative" solutions, there are dozens of options we can try, all of which are better than this.
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For the record, and so I'm not completely negative, the one bright spot here is the CoK downtown municipal clearing. Sidewalks nearby were 100% accessible on Monday morning, and were even plowed at only a slightly worse rate than roads DURING the storm. I have literally found only 2-3 places where the city missed curb cuts...one of those places is MJB's corner where the sidewalk is reprehensibly narrow for other reasons.
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(04-18-2018, 05:10 PM)danbrotherston Wrote: For the record, and so I'm not completely negative, the one bright spot here is the CoK downtown municipal clearing.  Sidewalks nearby were 100% accessible on Monday morning, and were even plowed at only a slightly worse rate than roads DURING the storm.  I have literally found only 2-3 places where the city missed curb cuts...one of those places is MJB's corner where the sidewalk is reprehensibly narrow for other reasons.

Yes. BIA-area clearing is excellent. Not perfect, but excellent.

However, I am very much pissed off by some churches that promptly plow their parking lots but completely ignore the sidewalks. Time for me to start reporting them.
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(04-18-2018, 05:07 PM)danbrotherston Wrote: Just because I feel like a record of these things is important (and I'd like even more opportunity to vent) this post gives the information on sidewalk clearing.

For context, main road in Waterloo Region were completely clear as of Monday morning.  My coworker drove in from Guelph with incident or even slowness.

Sidewalks however, are completely 100% blocked.  I walked from my workplace, down King from Columbia down to Downtown, and only one block from Green St. to Andrews St. was cleared.  Every single other block had at least one property or curb cut that was uncleared.

Kitchener bylaw enforcement did not go out Tuesday on account of the 1-2 cm of snow that fell on Monday.

They went out Wednesday, and give property owners 24 hours to clear snow.  After 24 hours (assuming no snow) they will go out and inspect again and put in requests for snow clearing.  That will be Friday.  I am told that they will not clear snow on the weekend, so Monday is the first day that snow *could* be cleared (again assuming no flurries of any kind).

This is a run out the clock situation for property owners.  Given the current weather forecast, snow will have melted by Monday.  The city bylaw will have done absolutely nothing to clear any sidewalk in the city.

For the city of Waterloo, things are even worse.  Some city trails remain uncleared even this afternoon.

Worse, I have been unable to contact ANYONE at city of Waterloo snow removal bylaw for a statement.  I can get no information on what is being enforced or when.

Those are the facts.

Here's a strong opinion...the bylaw and enforcement is a tax paid for program that pretends to do something about snow removal without actually doing anything.

This will be my ONLY election issue.  I will give my vote to anyone who I believe will work to improve snow removal, and I will not vote for ANYONE who doesn't convince me of this.

I cannot accept watching another elderly or disabled person be carried onto a city bus because they cannot scale the snow bank at the bus stop.  I cannot accept trying to help an elderly person over a snow bank to get to the grocery store across the street from their house.

This is not something we should or need to tolerate in our society.  Anyone who isn't willing to spend 26 dollars a year in additional taxes to stop this is a cruel and selfish person.  I'm happy to disagree on the methods, but the current situation is utterly broken, that isn't up for debate, and there is no need for "creative" solutions, there are dozens of options we can try, all of which are better than this.

It surprises me that GRH, SunLife, and the two schools would not have their sidewalks cleared on a weekday morning.  No excuse, istm.
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GRH And SLF might have. I was on the other side. One sidewalk being cleared hardly helps.

Getting the run around from bylaw just shows how much this is all theater and nothing more.

Frankly I doubt there is even someone at COW doing snow removal enforcement.
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(04-18-2018, 05:07 PM)danbrotherston Wrote: Just because I feel like a record of these things is important (and I'd like even more opportunity to vent) this post gives the information on sidewalk clearing.

For context, main road in Waterloo Region were completely clear as of Monday morning.  My coworker drove in from Guelph with incident or even slowness.

Sidewalks however, are completely 100% blocked.  I walked from my workplace, down King from Columbia down to Downtown, and only one block from Green St. to Andrews St. was cleared.  Every single other block had at least one property or curb cut that was uncleared.

Kitchener bylaw enforcement did not go out Tuesday on account of the 1-2 cm of snow that fell on Monday.

[....]

Amen, brother!

This has got to be an AODA violation. OK, during that storm it would be unreasonable to expect a person with reduced mobility to be able to get around with no more difficulty than anybody else. But days later? If this isn’t a violation the law isn’t worth the pixels it appears on.
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Something I had heard from other cities was that their snow contracts typically run until early April, and some have gone decades without a non-melting snow this late. When the contracts end, the snow clearing gear becomes converted to construction kit. In order to get plowing back, you need to buy the time of the already-booked construction vehicles, and convert them from construction to snow and back again. So there's a bit of sympathy there.
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