Montreal, the city that never...sweeps, shovels or cleans

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 11:46 a.m.
A New Year approaches and I can only celebrate my insignificance as a human being and even worse, a pedestrian, thanks to Montreal’s municipal government. Yes, Montreal was hit with a heavy snow storm as well as heavy rains that turned to ice. These are the blows that a sadistic or vengeful (depending on your point of view) Mother Nature sends our way during December. It makes us sad and weary but we expect it and soldier on.
What we do expect is that our roads and streets will be cleared as quickly as possibly and as much as possible. Unfortunately, this is an unreasonable expectation in some parts of Montreal, no, in most of the parts of Montreal that I saw in the last few days. The ice on the sidewalks was thick and uneven making slipping and sliding a certainty. While the streets were slushy, they were not icy. This forced pedestrians to compete with cars and forgive me for stating the obvious but cars definitely have an unfair advantage in the weight and speed departments.
This state of affairs would be bad enough but to rub salt in the lower class wounds, N.D.G’s sidewalks were impassable while upper class Westmount sidewalks were reasonably clear. When I went to get fresh bagels at the Fairmount Bagel Bakery, I found that the sidewalk on St. Urbain was not only clear but had small stones thrown down to make it safer.
I may not be in top condition but I was pretty scared of breaking a hip on those sidewalks and did a lot of hiding indoors during my stay in Montreal until cabin fever finally drove my loved ones and me downtown to see the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Outside the Museum, workers were cracking the ice with shovels and throwing salt down. If the city couldn’t get that together, it would have been nice if a few more building and home owners might have at least tried to get the square in front of their homes done as the Museum and our hosts did which made getting in and out of their home much less frightening. A little thought for others goes a long way.
If I was an elderly person who hadn’t stocked up on groceries and couldn’t have them delivered, I’d be pretty worried at this point because the sidewalks were barely fit for twenty year olds, let alone the elderly. I lived in Montreal and cannot remember seeing the sidewalks in such rotten condition for pedestrians.
Granted that cars need to have safe streets because car accidents can be more catastrophic than a few fallen pedestrians but this is no excuse for what Sherbrooke St. in N.D.G. looked like this week. I think that we deserved better and I hope that there are more complaints going out along with this one.
We live in a country where we can predict that weather like this will happen frequently and Montreal certainly needs to have a better strategy for dealing with snow and ice so that people can walk their streets without fear of breaking their necks.
Having said that, have a very happy and healthy New Year and above all, and I mean this, don’t break your neck.



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