Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Winter weather paralysis

In our front yard, we have 3 inches of snow.  While I understand the issue of risk management, 3 inches of snow is nothing like the 20+ inches that fell in the US Northeast.

With all the carrying on by the local "news"casters and "weather"casters on television, it is not surprising when it comes to decision making on truly difficult issues that we don't do a very good job.

2.  The first snow of the year is as good a reason as any to call attention to some of my previous writing on "maintenance of way" for pedestrians, transit riders, and bicyclists in the city.  See "A "maintenance of way" agenda for the walking and transit city," "Snow reminds us of the necessity of a "maintenance of way" agenda," and "Testimony on the Winter Sidewalk Safety Amendment Act of 2011."

The basic point is that cities where a majority of trips are conducted not by automobiles need to better prioritize these modes in terms of maintenance generally and winter snow clearance specifically.

3.  One of the things that always comes up is snow clearance on trails, especially trails on park land.  See "Level of service and maintenance requirements in planning #2: winter maintenance of bike paths."

Note that Montreal has committed to keeping clear a primary bicycle path network in the winter, which they call the "white network" (Réseau blanc).  Eventually this network will total about 32 linear miles.   And the Minneapolis Bicycle Facility Manual probably has the best section on Maintenance of any bike plan I've read.  Part, not all, of the Minuteman Trail in Greater Boston has winter snow clearance, although it's done by the trail organization, not the agency responsible for trail maintenance ("On Minuteman Bikeway in winter, beginning to see their way clear," Boston Globe).

Marina in the snow
4.  Christopher Hume, urban design writer for the Toronto Star, opines ("Ending home delivery bad news for sidewalks") that one of the downsides of Canada Post ceasing to deliver mail door-to-door in cities will be less motivation to take care of sidewalks.  While he didn't mention snow shoveling, he should have. 

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