Toronto City Council today approved one of Mayor John Tory’s key items – a sidewalk snow clearing plan that will expand the City of Toronto’s existing program to all Toronto neighbourhoods, improve safety for residents in winter, provide more equitable snow clearing service to all areas of the city, and support improved accessibility in winter.
Toronto becomes just the third major winter city in North America to employ a city-wide sidewalk snow clearing program, along with Montreal and Ottawa.
Right now, the City clears 85 per cent of its sidewalks each winter. This expansion will ensure all homes in the city will receive snow clearing service on their sidewalks starting this upcoming 2021-22 winter season. More than 103,000 households will be added to the program and 91 per cent of sidewalks in the city will now receive mechanical sidewalk snow clearing. Due to sidewalk obstructions and narrow spaces, the remaining nine per cent of sidewalks will be manually cleared by workers.
The City will now finalize plans to purchase new equipment, including the necessary smaller sidewalk plows, to expand the service to all 7,300 kilometres of sidewalks in Toronto starting in December.
The decision by Toronto City Council was informed by data and information collected through a successful snow clearing trial as well as a comprehensive sidewalk inventory which took place over each of the past two winter seasons. The City purchased nine new, smaller plows in 2019 and tested the equipment on nine routes totalling 231 kilometres.
The Council-approved Mechanical Sidewalk Winter Maintenance Trial report is online: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2021.IE22.13.
More about winter service delivery in Toronto is at www.toronto.ca/snow.
“This will be a good service that we will provide to every resident and it came about in the right and responsible way. The report shows that the pilot we launched in 2019 worked and we found equipment which can do this efficiently and effectively. Council's approval today will ensure we can provide sidewalk snow removal across the city starting this winter."
– Mayor John Tory
“This plan will see all 7,300 kilometres of sidewalks in Toronto cleared of snow and ice which means that people of all abilities, in all Toronto neighbourhoods, can now be assured that public sidewalks will be safer for them starting as soon as this winter.”
– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rough Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
“We are finally addressing the inequity in sidewalk snow clearing service that the residents and neighbours of the East York and the Beaches communities have endured for years. It’s good news for many that, as soon as this coming winter, action will be taken to make our sidewalks safer when it snows outside.”
– Councillor Brad Bradford (Beaches-East York)
“Falling snow has always been a cause for concern among those who live in York South-Weston because it limits how people walk and travel around the community and means more slips and falls for many. I am glad the City’s sidewalk snow clearing program will be expanded to keep people safe and deliver a more equitable service in our community.”
– Councillor Frances Nunziata (York South-Weston)