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Winter Walking and Cycling
(02-18-2018, 09:18 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, 12:56 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, 01:02 PM)danbrotherston Wrote:
(02-20-2018, 12:56 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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