A few notes on bike lane snow clearance in Toronto
by Jun Nogami
City TV just did a piece on snow clearance of bike lanes during the winter.
I thought I'd amplify my comments in that piece with a few pictures that I took yesterday, just after about 5 cm of snow fell overnight.
It is true that the city is doing a very good job of keeping the Bloor bike lane plowed and salted, as shown in this photo.
I've also heard that they have been doing a good job with the Richmond Adelaide lanes as well. In all these cases, they are using special plowing equipment, and it helps that these bike lanes have a modicum of separation from traffic.
However, the situation is not nearly as rosy on streets with painted bike lanes. Here are some examples that I shot during the very same morning commute.
This section of the Dupont bike lane looks great.
However, as we all know, difficulties arise when there is curbside parking. The plot inevitably gives the parked cars a wide berth, leaving the bike lane essential unplowed.
Even worse, just past this point, the bike lane is no longer plowed, just when I'm headed under a railway bridge, where one could argue that the bike lane is needed most. The choice is then to take the lane where the road is clear, or to navigate through a layer of snow with god knows what underneath.
This next photo of Bloor headed west approaching Sherbourne also shows what a bike lane looks like if the roadway hasn't been plowed for a while, even in the absence of further snowfall.
The city has to recognize that if they are going to bother plowing bike lanes, they need to clear the bike lanes to a higher standard than the roadway. A car can drive through the debris shown above without much trouble, but a bike cannot.
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