Text by Glyn Bowerman
For years, pedestrian advocates in Toronto have been calling for the same sidewalk snow clearing downtown that the City historically provided for the inner suburbs.
Downtown residents have been responsible for clearing the sidewalk immediately in front of their residence, or risk facing a fine. But that kind of bylaw doesn’t account for rental properties (where the responsibility for shovelling may not be clear), people who are physically unable to clear their snow, people on vacation, or those who simply can’t be bothered.
Because of the downtown neighbourhoods’ narrower sidewalks, the type of machines used for snow clearing in, say, Etobicoke could simply not get the job done in Old Toronto. That’s why the City embarked on a two-year pilot project to test the use of narrower, more flexible plows like the Holder brands pictured here.
For the purposes of the pilot, the City purchased nine of these Holder plows. However, City spokesperson Eric Holmes told Ground, now an expansion of the snow-clearing plan has been approved by council, there will be a competitive procurement process to decide which plows will be purchased to significantly expand the fleet.
This is a big win for pedestrians, accessibility advocates, residents, and anyone who’s ever taken a bad spill on those treacherous Toronto sidewalks.
BIO/ Glyn Bowerman is the editor of Ground Magazine, journalist, and host of the monthly Spacing Radio Podcast.