Here’s a picture of one of the
bike snow-lanes that I nominally use on my commute to work every day.
We at Waterloo Bikes have a few blogosphere friends in other cities that we keep close tabs on. From our communication with The City Cyclist in St. Catherines, The Urban Country in Toronto, Average Joe Cyclist in Vancouver (which has seriously big-timed Waterloo in snowfall this year) the plows have all made special passes to clear the snow out of the bike lanes in these municipalities.
I chided the Urban Country on the subject of citizen cycling as it appeared impossible for me to navigate Waterloo roads while wearing my work attire (unless I wanted to show up dripping with sweat and slush). He responded with a pretty succinct description of how bike lane snow removal is handled in his city.
The City Cyclist tweeted his city lanes were cleared after just two days by the snow plows of St. Catherines.
The situation in Waterloo appears much worse despite the geographic proximity. It’s been 5 days and I haven’t seen a plow in 3. The bike lanes are filled with slush and ice except where the bus makes a notch in it to access the bus stop. I think it’s a safe assumption that the plows are awaiting the next snow fall to re-emerge and that the bike lanes will once again not be on their priority list once they do.
I turned to the Regional Cycling Master Plan to find out the reason for the disparity. Here’s what the plan says about snow removal from bike lanes.
On-road cycling facilities should be cleared as part ofthe regular removal and de-icing of roadways. A priority-shift to include roads that are cycling routes that serve major origins/designations (e.g.universities / employment centers) should be investigated. Liability is limited when ice is eliminated due to good drainage design and efficient snow removal schedules. Snow plowing crews could be instructed to payparticular attention to the right edge of the road, especially along designated cycling routes.
The bike lane pictured is on Colombia St. in Waterloo and is directly opposite Wilfrid Laurier University. Prime location for bicyclists in this city. Yet the lane remains uncleared.
So, my question is, did they subsequently investigate snow removal from bike lanes and determine that snow would not be removed? Or is the dedication of local government to biking as a mode of transportation just lip service? It seems like other municipalities have investigated it and came to a different conclusion.
Give us your status report if you’re biking in Waterloo this week!