Permit me to rant. Montreal’s weather patterns seem to be changing. Call it climate change if you want, but we have experienced ups and downs like never before. Snow then rain then back to freezing again has made for more than a few sidewalk wipe-outs. A friend of mine who works at a large hospital told me that one week in January saw three times as many broken bones from falls on icy sidewalks.
The process of clearing snow has a pattern as well. Based on my observation, the main streets and adjacent sidewalks are cleared first, followed by secondary streets. The secondary sidewalks is where the problem arises. Evidently municipalities deem these less than essential and therefore get around to clearing and sanding them later.
That’s understandable given they cannot clear everything at once; they have to prioritise. Make the lost of the available labour force. Keep buses and heavy traffic areas – both vehicular and pedestrian – cleared of snow and ice.
One side effect of this is that when pedestrians do find themselves on side streets with impassable sidewalks they are left with no alternative but to walk on the cleared street. This has been true for years, and for years drivers and walkers co-existed on the street. Cars would slow down when passing pedestrians, often exchanging a smile or wave. When possible vehicles would move over allowing the walker a wide berth and feeling of security.
In my experience those days are, for the most part, gone. Today the sidewalks on a street I take were knee-deep in snow, necessitating the use of the road for cars and pedestrians. I was passed by about five cars, not one of which slower or moved. Zero. Nil. What happened to common decency? Logic? Basic safety?
Drivers maintained their usual speed as they zipped by me and others who had been forced onto the road. Are they insane? I can’t blame the entitled millennials for this as a straw poll showed me the drivers were both men and women and of varying ages.
So to any of you who may find yourself driving on a snowy icy day in Montreal please bear in mind that when the sidewalks are not suitable for walking, we both must share the road. Got it?