By: Sabah Ahmed
@Sabah_Ahmed – firstname.lastname@example.org Contact
Published Wednesday, March 02, 2022, 13:15 PM EST
Carmel Ramas carefully steps on the murky sidewalk as she rushes to drop her only daughter Klaire, at a public school in Scarborough. Her house, a two-bedroom apartment, is in the vicinity of the school. Still, it takes an extra 15 minutes to walk her back and forth. The melting snow on the sidewalks makes walking a tedious task. When the temperatures plummet well below zero, the water from the thawed snow turns into ice, increasing the chance of an ugly fall.
Located in one of Scarborough’s busy neighborhoods, Ramas’s daughter attends a primary public school that welcomes more than 500 children daily. Parents are encouraged by Toronto District School Board to walk them to school daily. This makes it safer for the children on foot and does not clog the road as well.
Ramas, who is a new immigrant to Canada, tries to drop her daughter off early to her class queue. Most of the days, she is unable to see her daughter go inside. She has to rush back to take her online MBA class at Centennial College. Being a full-time student, Ramas tries to be as efficient as possible. But the last two months have been difficult for her. The remnants of the snowstorm that hit Toronto and its surrounding areas on January 17 still remain, making the drop-off and pick-up to school a journey filled with puddles and slippery frost.
“Walking back and forth from school while snowing was bothersome because it is risky to get into an accident if you aren’t careful. Now the season is changing but it is difficult to clean.”
“Since the start of winter, It has been a hassle everywhere, since the sidewalks were blocked or full of snow. And though it is beautiful, it can still be described as dangerous, especially for kids and adults” Karmel commented.
“ What we need to do as a person or part of a community is to act fast. In a way, we must put more effort, like if the snow in the road or front of the house is not yet thick, we need to clean it faster either using a shovel or a machine to do it, at least we can limit the danger [of slipping on the sidewalk]” says the distraught mom.
On her way to school, she greets an elderly Lena Jackson [name has been changed due to privacy] steadily moving towards the school, as she firmly grasps the hands of her young grandchildren. Her speed is annoyingly slow, partly due to her age and partly due to the narrow sidewalk that is still half-covered by snow.
“I don’t know when this will end. Spring is here and it has been nearly two months since the snowstorm. The mess is still here and it is difficult to walk. It leaves me out of breath every single day,” she says.
January’s Snow Storm Broke the 17-year record
Jaime Thomas, Senior Program Manager, Winter Operations & Emergency Services of Transportation Services, City of Toronto said that the snowstorm in January was massive.
“We received more snow during the Jan. 17 event than we have received in the past several years. It was an unprecedented amount of snow followed by several days of extremely cold temperatures that turned the snow into blocks of ice.”
When questioned what took so long for the city to remove the snow, Thomas said,
“Our winter equipment was activated at the beginning of the storm and snow removal was activated on Jan. 20 to start physically removing the snow. Snow removal is not a fast operation as the snow has to be picked up and put in a dump truck and dumped at the snow storage facility. We were running snow removal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and I hope you have seen the difference. The City began its snow removal operations on designated snow routes and priority routes to ensure safety and accessibility. Crews also prioritized areas such as arterial and local roads with the least space and number of lanes, bridges, and roads with streetcar tracks. Snow removal was also prioritized in School Safety Zones, focusing on areas with limited snow storage.”
Thomas said that snow plowing and salting continued until the last week of February to make commuting easy for parents.
While Ramas avoids the patches of ice on the wet sidewalk, she says,
“Spring is here and so are the rains. It seems that the snow will go away by melting. But it is better than having to walk on ice. I still hope all this melted snow doesn’t turn into frozen ice on colder days.”