Mayor John Tory calls for review of winter operations

Toronto Mayor John Tory has requested a formal review of winter operations, citing concerns and complaints from citizens following last week's massive snow storm. 

In a letter to Transportation Services GM Barbara Gray, Tory said while he appreciated the work of city crews, the feedback he's received requires a more thorough response. 

"Despite these Herculean efforts by our crews to respond to the storm in a timely manner, I know many residents felt frustrated with the service they received," Tory said. 

Tory's requests include:

"-A study of our service levels around snow removal and whether they should be
increased.
-The threshold for declaring a major snow event to trigger parking restrictions along key
routes so those routes can be cleared quicker and more thoroughly.
-How we can establish a zero tolerance system for vehicles blocking streetcar routes to
ensure they are removed immediately and that drivers face stiff penalties for this
infraction.
-A look at best practices and technology used in other Canadian cities when dealing with
snow and ice.
-The cost of clearing the sidewalks in the Toronto and East York community council area
and a detailed look at the benefits of harmonizing the city's sidewalk clearing."

Tory's letter said that during and after the storm, his office had more than 150 calls and emails from residents who were upset about snow removal, with many focusing on sidewalks. 

It was a concern echoed by residents such as Joseph Mills in The Beaches, who told NEWSTALK1010 his mother and other seniors, as well as children are constantly struggling to manage walking through snow-covered sidewalks. 

"Sidewalks you can't even walk in," he said. "I just had to do it and I almost slipped walking around here." 

"They plow all the snow onto the sidewalks, clear the bike lanes and forget about the goddamn pedestrians." 

Supt. of Road Operations Mark Mills said there are various areas in the older parts of the city where sidewalk plows cannot get onto streets. 

"So we rely on the property owner to ensure that that sidewalk is clear," he said. 

Last week during the storm, Tory said that city crews had met the necessary standards of snow clearing and stopped short of calling for a formal review. 

"Well I just think you look at these things continuously," he said last week. "Certainly we can take a look at those, but I think in the respect of this, one of the biggest storms in a long time and certainly the biggest in 10 years, they did a good job and they met the standard." 

Tory's letter also hopes for results in the "near future."