February 21st, 2024

City snow route policy sparks resident anger


By Lethbridge Herald on January 19, 2024.

Hallie Carpenter walks past a home where snow is piled in front of a driveway. The northside resident is concerned about the City snow clearing policy which had snow pushed to right blocking driveways. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The temperatures may be frigid but some residents’ blood is boiling over problems with the activation of city snow routes.

Several residents have complained to The Herald about finding snow from those routes piled along curbs, blocking front driveways which prevents them from either leaving their homes or accessing them. And because of regulations they aren’t allowed to park on streets while the snow routes are activated without fear of a fine or finding their vehicles surrounded by snow.

On Friday, it was clear on several streets including 13th Ave. N. and 23 St. N. that numerous driveways had been blocked.

Uplands resident Rod Peake told The Herald Friday morning he woke up to see snow piled 32 inches high in front of his driveway. 

“It was unreal,” said Peake who lives on Uplands Boulevard. He used his truck which has 33-inch tires to burst through the snow which others were blowing back onto the road with their snowblowers as he watched.

He said it took his wife several minutes to get onto 311 to talk about the situation.

“How do they think this is working when they’re making elderly people shovel? An ambulance wouldn’t be able to get in if there was emergency. How would they get in a gurney?” Peake asked. 

Another person who had contacted The Herald showed a reporter homes on 13 Ave. N. where snow was about two feet high and frozen solid, which she said would make shovelling difficult if not impossible, especially for seniors.

When snow routes are declared active, people have 24 hours from the time the announcement is made to move their vehicles off-street. Failure to do so may result in a ticket being issued or snow being plowed around the vehicle.

The City transportation department, when a heavy snow event is expected or occurs, assesses the need to plow routes.

In a statement Friday to The Herald, the City stated “the first significant snowfall for the season arrived in Lethbridge this week and for some residents, this was also their first experience with the new snow route system. 

“We understand the impact of the significant snowfall and the new plowing practices may have caught some residents off-guard. We have provided information and opportunities for residents to give their feedback about the new snow routes since November 2021. This work is ongoing and residents are encouraged to contact 311 or head to getinvolvedlethbridge.ca to provide their feedback about the new snow routes.”

Along snow routes, snow will be plowed to the right of road, says the City on its website, “and a windrow may develop along driveways, curbs and boulevards. Plowing is the most efficient way to clear snow from roadways, but the windrows created may require shoveling after the plows have passed,” says the City.

For resident Hallie Carpenter who lives on 13 Ave. N. this is hugely problematic.

Carpenter is frustrated after contacting the City Thursday night and Friday morning to discuss the matter after seeing a couple of feet of hard-packed snow blocking her driveway on Thursday night.

She showed the Herald that driveway and others which still had vehicles parked behind walls of hard-packed snow on the street early Friday morning and others where vehicles clearly hadn’t been parked since plowing was done.

“It’s a snow route, I can’t park on the street, I’m not allowed to. I couldn’t get in my driveway” and she has no access to her yard through the back alley because she doesn’t have a garage, said Carpenter who had to shovel her way into her driveway.

“My street is full of senior citizens and people with disabilities and I phoned the city last night, 311, and the person on the phone got in touch with someone and that someone said ‘this is how we’re doing it. We’re pushing it to the right, we’re not going to change it, you can’t talk to anybody about it.’ I said that’s not acceptable, I want to talk to someone and she told me to phone the police. She was either going to disconnect or put me on hold for the entire night,” said Carpenter.

She called 311 again Friday and was told nobody is being allowed to talk to City personnel about it and that people can just call to make a complaint.

Carpenter said residents on her street are stuck and she, too, wonders how an ambulance could get help to someone if  EMS can’t get into a driveway. Or how a person with a health issue could get out to seek medical assistance.

“You can’t complain about it to the City. They told me to call 911 last night,” said Carpenter during a walk down 13th.

She also wonders how anyone with a walker or a stroller can be expected to get on or off a bus.

“There was nothing else I could do” except try to shovel the hard-packed snow last night, she said of her own situation.

“It’s -35 in the morning and people have to go to work” and they wake up to seeing their driveways blocked, she said. 

Carpenter came across the situation about 9 p.m. Thursday night after visiting her mom in a care facility “and this was like this when I came home. People were already in bed who had to wake up really early so they woke up to this. And I’m really worried about some of the seniors.

“I was excited about the new snow thing,” added Carpenter.

“Then I came home to this.”

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lumpy

Apparently giving snowplows cute names is more of a priority.

buckwheat

all along a snow route in our area the snow is piled high. Most residents in the area blew the driveways clear placing snow in the middle of the road. Wait, isn’t that what the city used to do before reinvention of the wheel????

old school

Shows how competent the city goon squad is . Threats and fines for non- compliance for city residents. The city shows total disregard for the residents,while themselves have zero accountability.

biff

sometimes those of us at odds with things find themselves onside. this is one of those issues.
simply pushing snow from one portion of a roadway to another is, well, stupid. how are we not loaded with blowers, which would leave little in the way of snow walls blocking driveways, as well as little in the middle of roads. how cheap and inefficient have we become, such that many have to pay a price for city foolishness? and, it is not like our property taxes are not high. we are ploughing only a tiny fraction of our roads, but city hall cannot do that with enough investment, particularly, without enough investment in thought.
it seems, then, we pay high taxes mostly to pay for high salaries, benefits, and very niche and ridiculously expensive pet projects. put another way, we are paying dearly for pocket lining and waste.
why is the city not removing snow from all sidewalks? many evolved communities do as much in return for high taxes. this ensures uniform clearing of all sidewalks, allowing pedestrians far more safer passage than our system where some sidewalk space is cleared, and others are left to a snowy and then an icy bleed out. in fact, with so few streets cleared here, how does the city expect people to navigate across their snowy-to-icy roadways?
and, one more time, a shout out to the great waste of space minds that lined pockets with those ridiculous waste of money and space new corner sidewalks. in addition to that waste of concrete and money, those already stuck clearing corner lots for the city have been handed another good lot more to clear.

Peter E.

When I got up this morning there was snow piled 3-4 feet high in front of my driveway. It had the consistency of broken concrete. After 3 hours of hard work ( at 72 years old) I finally had it cleared so we could leave the house if there was an emergency. Immediately after I finished a pair of city plows appeared that would have cleared an adjacent snow bank and refilled what I had just shoveled out. I franticly waved them off, as another three hours of clearing would have surely resulted in a hospital visit for me. I have been very good at observing my civic duty by clearing the long sidewalk on my corner lot so others can access their mail and use the walkway. For gods sake if your going to pile great banks of snow in front of my house have the same respect and clear it out. I don’t care if you have to truck it away the alternative will be the death of me.



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