Too much snow? Melt it away!

1 Comment

With technology advancing faster than ever I’ve often wondered why snow clearing operations haven’t changed very much since I was a kid. I recall watching in utter amazement back in the ’60s as a parade of snowplows, dump trucks, sidewalk plows and snowblowers worked their way down Cork Avenue.  Sure they landed a man on the moon… Heck, I’m even named after the first man to orbit the moon! But this was happening right on my street. Snow clearing was really out of this world.

I never spent a moment thinking about the cost of acquisition and maintenance the rolling equipment, the manpower cost, the pollution spewing from the roaring engines or the danger to pedestrians as these trucks barreled down Guelph and Kildare headed to the snow dump. I didn’t know that there was more equipment to push the dumped snow up a mountain to await the great thaw. The noise caused by this whole procession didn’t bother me back then.

Fast forward a few decades and as a City Councillor I was responsible for millions of dollars in expenditures for everything I’ve described above. How much do we pay in our municipal tax bill just to cart away and pile up the snow? Millions upon millions. And now residents have pressured City Hall to hire even more equipment and labour to break down those mountains of dirty snow every spring to speed up the melting. An absolute waste of tax dollars, a danger to pedestrians, and environmental hypocrisy to those who proclaim to be a friend of the earth. There’s got to be a better way.

Click to enlarge

I discuss issues of technology with my friend Mitchell Herf and we thought a lot about it. What if we could melt the snow as soon as we pick it up and avoid the parade of additional expensive vehicles, reduce our manpower costs, eliminate the mountains of dumped snow and reduce the danger to pedestrians and the environment? Too good to be true? Actually, some towns are doing it already.

SRS-M150 snow melter by SRS Snow Removal Systems

 

It’s time for our progressive, innovative, smart city, Cote Saint-Luc, to test out one of these 21st Century solutions. Plow it, blow it, melt it and flush it down the sewers with just one truck and one operator. I know that Councillor Ruth Kovac wants to melt the snow on heated sidewalks so this should grab her attention and that Cllr. Dida Berku is all about environmental concerns and Cllr. Steven Erdelyi would like find ways to reduce expenses. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Public Works Director Bebe Newman are also reading this post and I hope they’ll all take up the challenge of researching new solutions for an age old problem and make our city safer, cleaner and cut down on costs.

 

The snow removal truck melts the snow and water is dumped into the sewers

 

Large snow melting dumpsters can be installed strategically during snow clearing

operations to cut down on unnecessary dump truck trips

 

 

Advertisements

City says roadwork coming to larger section of Côte-Saint-Luc Rd. — in 2020

Leave a comment

The negligence in the upkeep of Montreal’s section of CSL Road is an embarrassment and a danger. Two more years of this state of disrepair is unacceptable.

 

 

CBC News:   City says roadwork coming to larger section of Côte-Saint-Luc Rd. — in 2020
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/c%C3%B4te-saint-luc-road-disrepair-construction-2020-1.4787995

Why can’t Montreal clear the snow?

Leave a comment

Van Horne congestion due to snowbanks and illegally parked car, on Feb. 12, 2018

Traffic continues to be snarled on Van Horne, west of Decarie, for more than two weeks.  The Borough of Cote des Neiges – NDG’s inability to clear the snowbank is baffling. No less than three types of ‘No Parking’ signs have come and gone yet the snow remains. The afternoon/evening rush hour on this route routinely sees a single lineup of vehicles backing up for blocks, into Decarie, sometimes all the way to Westbury. Is this because of incompetence or lack of resources?

Just a few blocks further the Town of Hampstead does a reasonable job of clearing nearly two full lanes, doubling the flow rate. And beyond that Cote Saint-Luc practically melts the snow from curb to curb.

The police routinely fail to enforce the No Parking restrictions on Van Horne (which I lobbied for several years ago). So even if the snowbank would be cleared illegally parked cars often obstruct the right lane (as photographed above at 5:20PM).

So what’s the problem in Montreal? We should be world leaders at clearing snow. Instead, we’re caught off guard by snow storms, can’t clear ice from sidewalks, our streets are riddled with potholes, and we needlessly waste time in traffic jams. Let’s hope the new administration figures this out quickly and get’s it right for next season. And ticket that car!

A tough commute in Montreal may eventually be a thing of the past

1 Comment

On a morning where my  12 minute commute took over an hour I’m inspired to share this lecture from the Consumer Electronics Show going on in Las Vegas about Smart Cities. It speaks to the democratization of transportation whereby all vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians are linked to one another.

Congestion can be mitigated by connectivity and data sharing. The whole system needs to be made more intelligent. Cities need to get connected to new technology and use data to manage traffic flow and to improve citizens’ quality of life, local business, the environment and even public safety.
In this conference, Ford Motor Company’s President and CEO Jim Hackett focuses on mobility solutions as the world progresses toward smarter cities. Ford’s vision is to become the world’s most trusted mobility company, designing smart vehicles for a smart world.
I hope our friends and neighbours from the Cote des Neiges – NDG Borough Hall also take note about smarter cities and avoid blocking Van Horne for snow clearing during rush hour, resulting today in gridlock across Snowdon West, Hampstead and Cote Saint-Luc.
Speaking of Hampstead, please clear BOTH lanes on Fleet. 1.5 lanes of snow clearing doesn’t really help the flow.
And kudos to the CSL Public Works Department under the leadership of Director Bebe Newman. Bebe’s crews practically catch the snow before it hits the ground. You’d never know that 36 centimetres fell in CSL driving down its main streets today.

Driving CSL forward with EVs

Leave a comment

 

Watch and share: I’ve advocated for the city to purchase its first Electric Vehicle and truck. I am pushing for the adoption of more EVs in CSL to reduce our dependence on fuel and to reduce pollution and noise. I am so convinced that I got one myself!

CSL Public Works took delivery of its first electric vehicle, a Kia Soul, in November 2016 (Photo: Bebe Newman)

Regarder et partager: J’ai plaidé pour que la ville achète son premier véhicule électrique et camion. Je préconise l’adoption de plus de véhicules électriques dans CSL afin de réduire notre dépendance au carburant et de réduire la pollution et le bruit. Je suis tellement convaincu que j’en ai acheté une moi-même!

Polaris electric vehicle makes demo debut at CSL Public Works in November 2016

 

I visited the ZENN (Zero Emission No Noise) Auto manufacturer in St. Jerome in Oct. 2008 and took this early model electric for a spin around the test track

 

My brand new 2017 Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle

CSL: A digital city | En ligne à CSL

Leave a comment

Cote Saint-Luc’s digital presence is getting better and better. I’d like to see Council meetings streamed live, track waste collection trucks and snow removal crews in real time. Our emergency notification system is a success. Please watch and share.

La présence numérique de Cote Saint-Luc s’améliore. J’aimerais voir les réunions du Conseil diffusées en direct, de suivre les camions de collecte des déchets et les équipes de déneigement en temps réel. Notre système de notification d’urgence est un succès. S’il vous plaît regarder et partager.

City purchases two stream receptacles

Leave a comment

 

In an attempt to provide City residents with the opportunity to sort their waste on the streets, twostream waste receptacles have been purchased to replace some old, tired and one stream cans that are around the City.
“We are hoping to clean up the streets and direct the right waste into the right bins. We received many requests for street recycling bins, as our residents like to run/walk/bike and then get thirsty and have nowhere to throw their bottles,” said Public Works director Bebe Newman.

City Council authorized the purchase of 120 receptacles, partially paid out of a provincial grant, that were installed at almost all bus stops throughout the City and at several other locations on main streets, at certain parks and public spaces (bordering the street).

“We have had strong and positive reaction from the public,” said Newman.

Council approved  the purchase of an additional 50 receptacles for the City at a recent public council meeting.

Older Entries