The streets of Vancouver have been terrible for a while now. The city seems to think that the weather will always fix the streets of snow and that there is no need to actually do any real kind of ploughing. This has meant that since the 13th of December there has been a lot of snow on all the side streets. Imagine if you will a street with cars parked on both sides, a couple of feet of snow with two ruts in the middle and no where to get out of the way. Then add a lot of rain to the mix. If you thought that the snow would be all gone, melted, then you don’t understand something about how snow behaves. Bigger piles of snow don’t just melt with rain, especially if the cars that have been driving on them for the last few weeks have compacted the snow so much that it is crusty and hard all the way through.
All this snow, the non-removal of said snow, no four wheel drive, only all seasons on the car and you have a recipe for disaster. Luckily all the stressful situations and stuckidness haven’t resulted in an accident but it sure could have. In fact trying to get into our garage via the alley (which they don’t even pretend to clean) got me very stuck on Monday of last week. I was so stuck that trying to rock the car back and forth out of the snow didn’t help. All the tires wanted to do was spin. I had to go out of the car with the boy (who had an accident and was very wet) and the baby to get a shovel from the complex. We then had to go back to the car while I tried again to shovel out the wheels and try the rocking back and forth thing again. An hour later someone with a blue jeep and a tow cable helped pull us back onto the street so I could make another run at the alley with a little more speed. Luckily we made it that time.
On Tuesday we had an aborted attempt to go to preschool. We were all set and I gave us extra time to make sure we made it. This didn’t take into account that all the rain didn’t help the situation at all. Instead we had a near accident at an intersection. Heather St. was a terrible mess of unploughed snow, slush and two ruts down the middle with cars and excess snow on the sides. Meeting another car going the other direction with no place other than the intersections to pass left little room to maneuver. After meeting several cars like this and trying to get around each other and not get stuck we finally made it to 22nd and the ROAD WAS CLOSED! This was the way we needed to go to actually get to the preschool. With no room to pull over and park, the baby in a car seat, no stroller or snow clothes for the baby we had to turn around the traffic circle (there was a steep hill as our other option) and try to make it back to 16th Ave. Oh did I mention that Quinlan and I were due at an appointment at the Children’s Hospital? Yeah.
I don’t think Anthony quite understood why it was so stressful for me until this weekend in the car with Aidan combined with his commute on Friday. Aidan doesn’t stop talking for a moment while he is in the car. Having such horrible driving conditions, drivers with a lot less snow driving experience on the road with you, your children in the car and a time constraint means a lot of stress.
This is why we took the bus to preschool on Thursday, only to find that the community centre didn’t clear the sidewalks around the park. Question – if the Vancouver city bylaws state that property owners are to clear their sidewalks, shouln’t that apply to the city owned properties as well? I thought so. I wonder if we can fine the city? Maybe they can put it to actually clearing the snow next time? We can only hope!