Concerns raised about icy side streets in Metro Vancouver
VANCOUVER -- Metro Vancouver’s first blast of wintry weather has had city crews across the region working around the clock.
The first snowflakes began falling last Thursday, but some residential neighbourhoods have yet to be serviced by salt trucks or snow plows.
"We deal with our priority one roads first, which is arterials and major collectors," said Ray Kerr, manager of engineering operations for the City of Surrey. "That’s in an effort so emergency vehicles such as police, fire and ambulance as well as transit can actually use the road."
Metro Vancouver's temperatures dipped below zero on Sunday night, turning the thaw of last week's snowfall into sheets of ice on roads and sidewalks.
The conditions created a major headache for drivers, transit users, and pedestrians at the peak of the morning commute on Monday.
"It was definitely ice that we’re dealing with more so than snow," explained Kerr.
Icy patches remained on many streets in Surrey that had already been plowed. Spun out vehicles could be seen throughout the day Monday, and the slippery conditions were even worse on some side streets.
Some residents in Surrey voiced their concerns about the work the city had done so far.
"It never gets touched," said Aries Montgomery as she walked through her icy Fleetwood neighbourhood. "I don’t know why they don’t go down here and clean it or put salt on it either. It just never happens. We just get forgotten."
Residents can flag problem areas to the city by phone or online, but only streets with certain criteria will be upgraded to a higher priority status.
"Hills, whether they’re close to schools," Kerr told CTV News. "There’s a lot of different parameters that we look at. Priorities one are done first, then priority twos. The local roads, being our priority threes, they are the last on the list to get done."
Other residents in the area were quite pleased with the speed in which crews were working.
Metro Vancouver’s first blast of wintry weather has had city crews across the Lower Mainland working around the clock.
"I think they’re doing a good job, I’ve seen several trucks out this afternoon already," said Dorothy Chartrand, a Fleetwood resident. "They’re out there working hard."
Frank Brams also lives in the area and said he spent the afternoon using a snowblower to clear his driveway. Brams said he’s used to his street being one of the last ones plowed.
"Get all the major routes done first. I mean, we’re good enough in here. It’s not a big deal," he said.
Surrey crews have been working on rotating 12-hour days since last week to prepare for the wintry weather. The city has 39 trucks out that have dropped more than 6,000 tonnes of salt on the roads over the last few days. There are more 45,000 square lane kilometres to maintain within Surrey.
Kerr says his department has a $3.5 million dollar budget for the year.
"I’m hoping that we will get a break in the storm and we will end up getting to all those roads. But we’re just asking people to be patient because we will be there sooner rather than later."
Snow clearing protocol is similar across the Lower Mainland with high traffic areas taking priority.
Steep sections in New Westminster like Cumberland Street were shut down due to icy conditions on Monday.
Closures were also spotted in Vancouver along Oak Street.
Some residents decided to take advantage of the snow covered hills, creating their own ski runs down back alleys.
Video posted on YouTube showed two people sliding down Boundary Road near Oxford Street.
But the City of Vancouver released a statement saying that "skiing and sledding is prohibited on city streets."
More snowfall is expected in the coming days, which could mean the maintenance of side streets could be delayed even further.