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Over the years, various snowstorms have created significant service disruptions and accessibility impacts for transit users in Guelph. Transit users have been left stranded for hours during storms, and bus stops remained inaccessible for days and weeks after some storms. This post shares suggestions on how to mitigate future snow storms.
Transit rider proposals for accessible transit snow plan
- Guelph’s service standards for snow removal should be updated to include clear standards and timelines for snow removal at bus stops. Guelph Transit stops must be cleared so there is an accessible and adequately wide path cleared to and from the street. Buses must be able to kneel to the curb at the plowed area so that people using mobility devices, strollers, or grocery carts can board buses.
- Guelph Transit should create emergency and communications plans that recognize not all riders use Twitter or have smartphone access. Audio and visual announcements are needed to guarantee that riders receive urgent information in an accessible format.
- Guelph Transit should adopt best practices from other cities with snowy conditions. For example, a number of Canadian transit agencies install either winter tires or use “tire socks” for additional traction in snowy weather.
- Consider creating Neighbourhood Guelph Transit Stop clearing crews, trained and certified by the City of Guelph, preferably targeting residents who live in the neighborhood.
Access to Guelph Transit stops in the weeks after a snowstorm
Transit users were unable to access various Guelph Transit stops for days and weeks due to inadequate snow clearance at Guelph Transit stops. This created dangerous conditions for transit users who walked and waited on the street or climbed over snowbanks, while other riders were unable to access transit whatsoever. With blocked sidewalks, intersections, and bus stops. Workers who rely on transit in many neighborhoods had to walk on the street.
What is City of Guelph and Guelph Transit’s current service standards?
Transit stops are cleared by a 3rd party contractor while City Sidewalks are done by City Workers.
Guelph clears snow from sidewalk and transit stops on:
- High priority sidewalks: serviced first after four centimetres of snow accumulates.
- Residential sidewalks: serviced after eight centimetres of snow accumulates.
.Yet there seems to be a lack of clear service standards to ensure access between sidewalks and roads so that transit users can board vehicles. Bus stops may be cleared of windrows (heaped up snow created by the initial ploughing) but that may take more than 48 hours.
What we need
For Guelph Transit to be fully accessible during and after major snowstorms, including:
1. Implementing clear standards and timelines for snow removal at bus stops so there is an accessible and adequately wide path cleared to and from the street. Buses must be able to kneel to the curb at the plowed area so that people using mobility devices, strollers, or grocery carts can board buses.
2. Emergency and communications plans that include audio and visual announcements, recognizing that not all riders use Twitter or have smartphone access.l
3. Adopting best practices from transit agencies in other cities with snowy conditions, such as using winter tires or “tire socks.”