The pictures above could not all refers to the same snow fall day, but every snow day convey the same story: A transit meltdown when the city seems to not spare any energy to clear the bikeway network.

The biais has been noticed by several media outlet, and seems encouraged by some which could have some influence on the city hall culture:

albeit, some city staffs seem to want to make sure no tax dollars are spared toward the well being of cyclists:

It is  possible that local advocates misinterpret how the things are done in Copenhagen, where the bike lanes use to be along the city’s arterials:

copenhagen-bike-lane

The city of Vancouver explains it has 14  “priority” route: in fact, it has 14 route, period: one of them looks like:

snowplowroute6

Only ~50% of this route cover either a truck route or a frequent transit network route. and the crux of the underwhelming Vancouver snow response lies here: there is virtually no route priotization which leads to high inefficienies in the way snow removal equipment are deployed.

~200km of high priority route to clear in the city limits, covering the Frequent Transit Netwrok, major truck routes, main hospital accesses, and the municipal “Disaster response routes

the above map covers the frequent transit network, major truck route, hospital access, and the municipal “Disaster response” routes in the city limits: that represents ~200km of streets: 14 snow plowers can clear this entire network, one lane/direction, in ~1 hour (assuming a ~30km/h snow plow average speed): On friday, February 3rd, the total snow accumulation was ~12cm, falling at a rate of less than ~1cm/hr on average, and still the city let much more than 5cm of snow to accumulate on the main arterials such as Granville where the transit service was halted several time during the day…same on 41st and 49th avenue to speak only of few I have been made aware, not discounting the bus 20 was still not able to make south of 54th on February 8th. A similar transit meltdown occured on Monday 6th, total snow precipitation for the day: 7cm!

another problem could be due to the deployment procedure of the snow plowing equipments: plowing takes place if there is more than 5cm of snow accumulation. The 5cm trigger is the same as in Toronto, however the level of water content in snow tend to be 50% higher on the west coast, so that the same level of snow precipitation leads to significantly more slushy condition in Vancouver than in Toronto [1]…. Also, Toronto deploys snow plowing equipment as soon as 2cm of snow accumulates on its expressway networks.


[1] this is extrapolated from USA data. for more information on the relative level of water content in snow, see Martin Baxter: Snow to liquid ratio, climatology and forecast methodologies, 2005