Originally Posted by lrt's friend
First of all, we need to examine our snow clearing policy. Have we been quietly cutting back to save money? I would not be surprised if the answer is yes. At some point there needs to be an assessment of whether there is a point when snow clearing service cutbacks are backfiring by seriously impacting mobility in the city and particularly our transit service. If we make the service unreliable, then why would some taxpayers choose that option? Of course, there is a point when the weather will cause problems no matter what. Large amounts of heavy wet snow will pose a big problem for traffic.
I don't think it has anything much to do about policy per se but rather the buses-getting-stuck issue is a result of the way roads are cleared combined with where buses operate.
1. We plow snow to the right edge of the road.
2. Buses travel to the right and they come to stops at the right edge of the road.
Snowfalls, especially heavy, wet snowfalls, immediately before and during peak periods leave no margin to remove the snow banks that are formed at the sides of the road. So we end up with buses operating in the same places as the snow is being piled up.
Further adding to the grief is that because the roads are drained to the right edge and the drains are now conveniently covered by snow banks, the road immediately to the left of the snow bank will be accumulating water and creating slush, which of course reduces traction.
These are inherent weaknesses with operating buses in snowy conditions.
Designing our roads to drain to the centre or left would probably help but this would clearly take a long time to accomplish and it might not help too much with this wet snow since it forms slush on contact anyway. We'd also still have the snow bank issue to contend with.
Where possible, we could opt to plow roads to the left to keep snow banks away from buses. That would work for one-way streets like Slater and Albert and divided arterials like Carling.
But basically we just don't have a lot of good options. Reducing the dependency of the transit system on buses is probably the best approach; the more rail we use, be it O-Trains, light rail, trams or even streetcars, the fewer snow issues we're likely to have.