“It hasn’t been adequately handled and the reason … is that the maintenance quality standards are 20 years old,” Menard said. Ottawa’s winter maintenance quality standards – which set guidelines for the appropriate levels of winter maintenance – haven’t been updated since 2003.
“Given the survey responses that we’ve had … it seems very clear that sidewalks need to be cleared at the standard of what roads are being cleared at, which is bare-pavement status,” Menard said.
The city has recognized the need to revisit the standards and a review is currently underway – with findings to be presented to city council in September.
“The clearing is actually not bad. (The city) has tweaked their system and the plowing of the sidewalks is quite good,” said Dianne Breton, community leader for the Snow Moles Old Ottawa East sector.
The Snow Moles – who have been gathering data through questionnaires – will be sharing their findings with the city this year. The top priority is to make things safer for pedestrians, especially the elderly and people who use mobility devices.
“It’s so important, particularly in this year with COVID, that people feel encouraged to go out and walk in the winter,” said Breton.
Breton said she hopes the review of the winter maintenance standards will yield constructive results. “Hopefully there will be more budget money put into snow-clearing and I think it will make a difference,” she said.
After Tuesday’s snowstorm, Bay ward Coun. Theresa Kavanagh said she saw complaints in local Facebook groups from drivers about pedestrians walking on the road because sidewalks weren’t cleared yet.
This content was originally published here.