Let’s talk about the weather

As I type this, Halifax is getting its first snowfall of the season.

To me, this is “Yay! snow!”

To Don, this is “Well, I guess I’m not going out anymore until spring.”

We live in a really shite neighbourhood for snow-clearing. Although our landlord is excellent about keeping the snow and ice off the area in front of our building, there are two places on either side of us that aren’t. One is a business, so I’m not sure what’s up there. The other is a private residence, and there’s a variety of reasons that could be happening, including that the person living there may have a disability and/or be a senior and be unable to clear their walks.

Whatever the reason, once the snow builds up, the only way for Don to get his wheelchair anywhere is to go on the road. This is not exactly the safest thing to do.

Then, once he gets into the cleared areas, we get into the issue of how bad the sidewalks are. There’s a curbcut up on Barrington Street that gets filled with snow from the clearing and is very difficult to get through, even with the electric wheelchair. There’s another one on Hollis that just turns into packed ice every winter and stays that way. The sidewalks on our street date back to 1978 and are so riddled with holes and deep cracks that it’s a very bumpy and uncomfortable trip, assuming he can get through to them in the first place.

There is a snow removal program for seniors and people with disabilities in Halifax, which is great, but it’s not something that can actually help us in this situation. Because no one is actually breaking the law (you must clear the snow within 72 hours of the end of snowfall – and it snows about every 3 days), we can’t make a complaint to the city. I have tried complaining about the sidewalks and curbcuts in the area, but get the run-around.

But hey, it’s snowing! Yay?

10 Comments

  1. I suppose one could reframe England’s entirely rubbish attitude to snow (it takes approximately two inches of snow to shut down the entire public transport system in London, for example) as disability positive. If people who use wheelchairs can’t get out and about, then no-one can!

    Here in Scotland (where they believe in snowploughs) it really is an example of how the car is king – there will be beautifully cleared roads with not a speck of snow on them next to pavements covered in treacherous slush, or hard packed icy snow.

  2. I have to walk my daughter to the bus stop each morning, and it’s quite a long walk. The school is actually closer, but it’s uphill and there is a huge set of stairs that I can’t navigate, so the bus it is. It’s a challenge every morning, but when the snow and sleet and ice start, it’s nearly impossible to get her there. The sidewalks are treacherous, and streets aren’t really even cleared in our neighborhood, because it’s not under county maintenance – it’s a godforsaken HOA. We get more ice than snow anyway, and some creeks and tributaries that eventually flow to the Chesapeake run through the neighborhood, so using ice-melt might be a bad environmental choice. Fighting to keep my balance and the effect of the cold on my muscles really do a number on me, so it’s not unusual for me to not do anything else on a winter day other than get her to and from the bus stop.

    It drives me up the wall, because there is no one to call and yell at. It’s just one more thing in my day that I have to account for that most folks don’t.

  3. It’s not only wheelchairs. This is something that hits a lot of older people, for example, which is why my mother always clears away the snow. We live in an area where people over 60 live in every second house. Once the snow has been trampled down to ice, it gets tricky. Many people use sand to make it easier to walk, but it doesn’t really work. Or they just ignore the fact that they have to clean away the snow by 9:00 am or an hour after it stops snowing. For someone like me, with an excellent balance and a talent for falling without hurting myself, this is an annoyance. For my mother, it means she has to be extra careful, everything takes at least twice as long and she really hurts herself every now and then because of her age related problems. I suspect this affects a lot of people with restricted mobility in the widest sense, and that the number is far higher than anybody suspects.

    But hey, clearing away the snow is a bother, and that’s what counts.

  4. I don’t live on a main street, but I do live on the same street as the regional high school and middle school. And regularly, our patch of sidewalk is the only one that’s properly shoveled in our neighborhood. The town runs a little sidewalk plow past once it’s stopped snowing, but it’s not perfect and it can leave really bumpy tread-marks. I’m TAB and I slip and fall walking through the neighborhood.

    When I was a kid I used to complain about my dad’s making me shovel the snow down to the asphalt. Now I figure it’s worth it if our sidewalk gets to be the one part of our street where someone doesn’t have to worry about falling.
    .-= Nomie┬┤s last blog ..public transit =-.

  5. Does HOA = Home Owner’s Association? That was the first hit when I looked on Google.

    I was told last year that the sidewalks in Quebec are cleared by the city, the same was as the roads are. I want to move to Quebec.

  6. Sorry – yes, HOA is homeowners’ assocation. Damned acronyms! Can you tell I’ve spent my whole life around military? ­čÖé

  7. LeeLee,

    I do the same thing all the time, until someone started asking me what every acronym I was using meant. I’m trying to break the habit now.

  8. Yeah, Halifax was totally not designed with disabilities in mind. I can’t imagine downtown being easy to traverse even in summer–I’m healthy and I hated those hills–and I’ve seen it in winter. So, lots of hugs and sympathy here. It sounds like you’re pretty much in the worse part of town for having to deal with a wheelchair.

  9. Yea, wow, snow makes accessibility harder for me and I don’t use a wheelchair, but a cane. The ice makes using the cane more dangerous than not using one at times, because the cane slips and slides even more than my feet naturally do! I’ve been using a walker more often but haven’t trotted it out in the snow yet. I imagine that’ll be tricky for it’s own reasons too.

    Not to even get into what the cold and dampness do to my fibromyalgia symptoms and mental health conditions.

    Weather plays a big role, indeed. It hasn’t even started snowing here yet and I’m already waiting desperately for spring. *sigh*
    .-= Rosemary┬┤s last blog ..Transphobia is Wrong =-.

  10. I’m in so much pain in the winter from the cold and so lethargic from the lack of sun that I’d be hard-pressed to get a sidewalk shoveled. Lucky for me I live in the middle of nowhere and there is no sidewalk. Unlucky for me, I live in the middle of nowhere which makes forcing myself to get out and run errands really hard.

    I’m with Rosemary, can it be spring again now pls?
    .-= Slave2tehTink┬┤s last blog ..The end of that is not yet =-.