Everyone has their opinion about the weather, but many agree that snow removal efforts were lacking this year.
This winter was especially rough in Calgary. The snow seemed never ending, and getting around was challenging for many.
The Standing Policy Committee on Transit and Transportation has called for research on improving snow removal. They are looking at fine enforcement for people who don’t clear their sidewalks in 24 hours, as well as, identifying high use areas, exploring options for faster times for the City to clear snow, guidelines for wheelchair ramps, and more.
This notice points out that Calgary clears a much smaller percentage of sidewalks (11 per cent) compared to Ottawa (90 per cent) and Toronto (75 per cent). We also spend less overall, and have the second highest slip and fall rates in the country.
The City is meeting on June 7 to decide what actions, if any, need to be taken to improve snow clearing for pedestrians.
Why is this important to the Women’s Centre?
Snow removal policies have a different impact on women and men.
Karlskoga Sweden decided to revisit their snow removal policies with a gender lens in 2014. After looking at how women and men were getting around the city, they changed the order of snow removal, shifting priorities from roadways to pedestrian high-traffic areas, like schools, day cares and hospitals. Other transit research supports the conclusion that men are more likely to commute to the downtown core, and then back to their homes each day. Women, in comparison, are more likely to rely on public transit to make multiple stops or connections to public spaces while running errands. A few centimeters of snow would impact their commute on foot much more than drivers on roadways.
Snow is also a significant barrier to people with reduced mobility, low income families who use transit or share a vehicle, or parents with young children pushing strollers through snow banks.
What can you do?
The Women’s Centre and Disability Action Hall are looking for feedback to inform the councillors on the Transit and Transportation Committee. Let us know how snow and ice has affected your ability to get around in the comments below, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.