Friday, March 6, 2015

pedestrian tribulations


It hasn't been the snow, or the cold, that's been getting the people of Halifax down this winter, but the ice. Ice all over every sidewalk in town is something that can definitely get you down - and fast too as I can attest by experience. While some few (very few) people have cleaned the footpaths in front of their properties, it's no longer the law here that they must do so. Last winter the city council enacted a new ordinance that stated the municipality would be responsible for sidewalk (slidewalks as they're now known) snow and ice clearance rather than individual property owners. The program hasn't exactly been a triumph of city planning.


A few days ago I watched a local news video that showed several hundred people protesting outside city hall about the street and sidewalk cleanup - or rather, the lack of it. Noticing just how many of the protestors were on crutches I couldn't help but wonder how many of them had been recently injured. If you didn't begin the winter with a mobility issue chances are you have one now.



An exchange of comments in the local news:

    bien etre

Its call WINTER, get over it. Is there anything the maritimes do not whine about?

    Russell Gragg

@bien etre I know, right? I can't believe these overprivileged disabled people in crutches or in wheelchairs demanding the right to leave their houses to buy groceries or go to work.




The clocks moving forward this weekend mean that spring will soon arrive. In the meanwhile we find ourselves stopping to wonder just how deep the puddle in front of us might be, whether there is ice underneath that water, and might it not be better to climb another snowbank and walk on the street once more. Sometimes it really is safer to walk in traffic.

I promise to say no more about winter - at least not this year :)




Oops! I forgot something: You'll note that in several of these pictures there's a nice wide expanse between snowbanks made by small plows called Bobcats that remove the top layer of snow and compact what's left under their tracks. In most snowy cities this works pretty well, but the difference in Halifax is that our constant freeze-thaw cycles made thick icy paths when the previously easy to remove snow wasn't cleared to the pavement.

19 comments:

Should Fish More said...

An interesting winter. Every other year since I've had this house the snow in the front yard exceeds the 3+ foot fence, and because it's a north facing yard, the snow is there until early or mid May. It's a mere patch now, and will probably be gone in a few days. I have no reference for a winter like this....yes we've had sub zero temps occasionally, but we had 55f days in February.
I'll bet that even with the long cold winter in Boston and environs, the year 2015 will go on to be another globally warm year. While the east, south and mid west had a bad winter, the rest of the country had record high temps.
Cheers,
Mike

susan said...

Hi Mike, Yes, it has been a strange winter pretty much everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. We had no snow at all until the end of January and then too much in a matter of weeks. People who've lived here many more years than us have said that although there's been this much and more snow in other winters that they've never seen conditions this bad.

I think a big part of the reason more simple minded folk have trouble with the concept of global warming is that they don't understand the term actually means climate chaos.

Tom said...

A tale of woe indeed. One does wonder what passes for good sense in the minds of your authorities. Here's hoping that you remain safe and sound, and that those already injured are soon restored. It's no fun being on crutches, a fact to which I can testify!

marja-leena said...

Aii, you poor Haligonians! My sympathies to all for the harsh winter and wishes for spring's arrival soon. Us Westcoasters are feeling guilty for our mild winter and early spring, though we haven't forgotten the bad years. Stay safe!

susan said...

Regular Nova Scotians are a sensible group - the leadership has a worse history.

I hope you're soon restored to two footed locomotion too, Tom.

susan said...

Hi Marja-Leena. While I know this will all end in springtime good weather sometime soon I just wanted to make it clear that Haligonians aren't just being wimpy about normal winter weather. Our modified walks have been the scariest ever.

Never feel guilty about being where you are. I always love seeing your beautiful photographs.

Andrew R. Scott said...

To be like Crow, and fly laughing over it all, or south and away from it all, would be fun. I want wings.

susan said...

Yoo've got 'at reit, Andrew. mah hen mukker craw sent a postcard frae th' caribbean lest week. He reminded me tae air it his library.

Andrew R. Scott said...

A guid go at wir lingo, but wud be a "postcairt" ah'd say. Lang may yer lum reek, ma lass.

susan said...

A'm black-affronted abit th' postcairt, Andrew.

Ay, and may a wee mousie never leave your cupboard with a tear in its eye.

Andrew R. Scott said...

Ach, that'd be ma cubairt an' its ee.

Still, yer no bad.

susan said...

Aam ne'er gonnae gie it reit but it was worth tryin'. :)

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan
Hopefully by now you are almost over the severe weather , so that as it clears I trust so to do the authorities minds in implementing sensible regulations / services for all its citizens. Thankfully the bushfire threat this year for us has just about passed, with some good rain to tide us over as summer departs.
Best wishes

Ol'Buzzard said...

We spent three years in the village of Kalskag in Southern Alaska and the winters were ice on top of ice on top of ice - very little snow. You dare not go out of the house without ice cleats. Like you, I can deal with snow but ice means falls and falls at any age is dangerous.
the Ol'Buzzard

Andrew R. Scott said...

It wis.

susan said...

Hi Lindsay, Thankfully the very cold weather is easing off at this point, thus making our walks somewhat easier. I know the bushfire weather presents even more serious problems for you than winter does for us so I'm glad to know the danger has mostly passed for you now.
Best wishes

susan said...

Hi OB. Some friends of mine who spent several years living in a small community on Baffin Island described similar circumstances. I know for a fact I couldn't have handled that and admire you and your wife for having been so courageous.

gfid said...

i know i posted here last night.... can't remember what i said but it was blindingly brilliant. 'fraid i can't do an encore tonight though.... off to bed.

susan said...

It's nice to see you again no matter what it may have been you wrote before. :)