Winter Maintenance Efficacy Report: Jan 18-19 Snow 30 hrs – 16cm

By Michael Holloway @michaelholloway111
Sunday, January 26, 2020

A list of Toronto Transportation Services Winter Maintenance deficiencies posted to Twitter and tagged with #bikeTO and/or @311Toronto – bookmarked in 12 hour increment folders from end of the storm event at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 19, 2020.

120 HRS Anton Lodder 7-41 PM Jan 24 2020
+120 HRS Turning Box at Peter / Soho – Tweet by Anton Lodder @antonlodder at 7:41 PM · Jan 24, 2020


Ward 14 Bikes is tracking the efficacy of City of Toronto Winter Maintenance Operations with regard to the timely clearing of snow from bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure on Toronto roadways using road user posts from Twitter.

The purpose of this project is to shine a light on and effect change in, efficacy of Toronto Winter Operations with regard to cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure after a major winter weather event.

The Storm Type

This is a linked list of social media posts made by cyclist and pedestrian road users describing conditions in the aftermath of a January 18-19, 2020 storm event that started at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 18th and lasted all day accumulating 14.4cm of snow before a brief pause in accumulation after which on Sunday, January 19th another 1.6cm fell in two discreet snowfalls for a total storm event duration of 30 hours with a total accumulation of 16cm.

Environment Canada | Pearson – Historical Weather screen captures: Daily Data Reports for January + Hourly Data Reports for January 18 and 19, 2020

Environment Canada TO Pearson Daily Data Report and Hourly Data Reports for Jan 18th and 19th highlighted screen captures Jan 20 and 21 2020 by m_holloway

This type of storm is classified by the City of Toronto Transportation Services as a ‘Storm Type 3’ – according to Toronto City Council’s vote to approve “Confirmation of Levels of Service for Winter Maintenance of Bikeways, Windrow Opening, Sidewalks and AODA Compliance” – passed March 17, 2014 (

APPENDIX 1 - CYCLING FACILITY LEVEL OF SERVICE TABLE March 17 2014 Storm Type 3 markup m_holloway
Appendix 1 Cycling Facility Level of Service – marked-up by Michael Holloway highlighting Storm Type 3 levels of service

The Report

According to posts tracked for a week after the storm, the Priority Bike Lane network remained blocked with snow regularly on any given route for up to 132 hours after end of snow accumulation for as much as 60 hours after the 72 hours level of service mandate (6 days + 12 hours). It was only above freezing temperatures and then high amounts of rain starting in the late evening of Friday, January 24th that the network was restored to a serviceable condition.

Also noted by cyclists posting on Twitter was the ubiquitous instances across the onstreet painted network of bike lanes, of cars parked fully in bike lanes because curb-side windrows from drivers digging out and sidewalk snow clearing. This painted bike lane network blockage condition did not begin to rectify until the temperature rose above freezing on Thursday, January 23rd; even on Friday, January 24th many bike lanes were still blocked by parked cars due to curb-side windrows – again – many hours past the promised level of service for major arterials, arterials and collectors upon which painted bike lanes frequently run

(It is noted by this author that the level of service chart does not promise navigable bike lanes, but only that they will be plowed or salted in the same way the roadway adjacent to them is – which oddly almost never means the bike lanes are usable, while the roadways adjacent always are.) 

Also noted in posts from vulnerable road users is the ubiquitous – in all bike lanes – ‘windrow-drift’ – where-in drivers exiting their parking spaces inadvertently pull snow back into previously plowed bike lanes because plow operators have piled windrows against the street side of the parking lane.

In summary, these three elements marked user feedback in the aftermath of the January 18-19th storm event:

  • Plow Operators missed many sections of the Priority Cycling Network;
  • Lack of curb-side windrow snow removal lead to parking in all bike lanes; and,
  • Lack of windrow removal from the street side of the parking lanes on streets with bicycle lanes lead to an unuseable network of painted bike lanes …

These problems with winter maintence practice lead to a cycling network that was blocked with snow for a week after a 16cm snowfall; and which was ultimately only remedied by warm weather and a large fall of rain.

– Michael Holloway – January 26, 2020

Jan 18-19 Snow 30 hrs – 16cm

+0 HRS
anton lodder on Twitter: “@311Toronto a large pile of snow dumped in the road at NW corner of St. George and Harbors by @UofT, blocking the #BikeTO. is there some way we can fine them? they do it every snowfall” / Twitter
anton lodder on Twitter: “*Harbors Street + St George” / Twitter
Gillian Grace on Twitter: “@311Toronto the eastbound bike lanes on Bloor East between Sherbourne and the Viaduct are filled with piled snow and completely impassable. It’s really dangerous because the cars in that stretch go really fast” / Twitter
+12 HRS
(1) Gillian Grace on Twitter: “@311Toronto The bike lanes near Bloor East and Castle Frank Road are completely blocked with snow; the bike lanes over the Viaduct need another clearing—it got a lot worse/narrower than this photo (it was a narrow line filled with snow boulders) @Ward14Bikes @Ward31Bikes #biketo” / Twitter
(2) Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Finally! Photos (not mine) taken on Bloor Viaduct Sunday (I’m told) showing source of the icy truck tire tracks that make already plowed bike lanes everywhere impassable: oblivious salters @TO_WinterOps @311Toronto @PaulaFletcherTO @kristynwongtam #bikeTO @JohnTory @gilliancgrace” / Twitter
HighVis_T.O._Cyclist on Twitter: “@d_a_f_f_y_d @311Toronto From yesterday – #SherbourneBL cycle track completely covered between Queen and Richmond. You can’t even tell that it’s there. #BikeTO #Winterbiking” / Twitter
Crossing Dufferin on Twitter: “The Shaw bike lane today… all the way to Adelaide it was hell. @311Toronto please ask @TO_Transport to clear the bike lane and contraflow!!” / Twitter
HighVis_T.O._Cyclist on Twitter: “1/3 FYI for #BikeTO on condition of Adelaide & Sherbourne cycle tracks after weekend snow storm. Usability of #AdelaideBL between York and Sherbourne is very poor. I mostly stuck to the main traffic lanes. See ride video here if interested: #WinterCycling” / Twitter
HighVis_T.O._Cyclist on Twitter: “3/3 – Of course this doesn’t help. Snow bank between main traffic lane and cycle track ensures you cannot get back onto the cycle track after being forced out. #carinbikelane #BikeTO #parkingdirty #SherbourneBL #WinterCycling” / Twitter
HighVis_T.O._Cyclist on Twitter: “2/3 Usability of #SherbourneBL is fair. Biking south from Bloor I gave up at Wellesley and moved to main traffic lane, rejoined later. See ride video here: Track completely covered between Queen & Richmond, no effort made to clear. #BikeTO” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “A #bikeTO thread about my ride to work this morning through what passed for snow plowing in Toronto’s bike lanes after Saturday’s modest storm. #takethelane @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory 1/7” / Twitter
The Rooty’s Tweeties on Twitter: “They could AT LEAST plow the bicycle entrances/crossings to the martin goodman/great lakes waterfront trail, besides the pedestrian walkways. #biketo #walkto #neglect cc @311toronto especially at windermere and Ellis park Road. It’s unridable, and nobody can use said crossings.” / Twitter
Leland Nightingale on Twitter: “Why does @cityoftoronto, @311Toronto, @TO_Cycling, @ParkingTPS, @TTChelps do this to us 🚴‍♀️ every snowfall? The conditions of the ‘winter priority’ #BikeTO lanes on College St this morning were abysmal. @m_layton @anabailaoTO” / Twitter
Michal Kapral on Twitter: “Toronto “bike lanes” this morning, one month after Mayor @JohnTory declared: “Our City is working relentlessly to make our streets safer…” 🤔 #bikeTO” / Twitter
bryan de-escalation on Twitter: “@311Toronto @TO_WinterOps Bikelanes need clearing: Dundas E – N side full snow River – W side, construction staff using to move bobcat have filled with snow after plowing #shuterbikelane- full of snow frm River to Sherbourne, then cars frm Pembroke to Geo #bikeTO #VisionZeroTO” / Twitter
Sarah M on Twitter: “#vikingbiking route report #Toronto: Broadview, kinda messy. Viaduct: dicey but doable w/patience, w/a thin track & lots of ice chunks. Sherbourne: cycle track is a mess, stick to the road. Richmond to University: salted, 90% clear. #biketo #SnowReport @cityoftoronto @311Toronto” / Twitter
Kevin Montgomery on Twitter: “My addendum to this: Adelaide was “okay” through downtown to the Distillery. Usable if you take it slow and plan your path forward. However, there isn’t a lot of margin for error. Lots of obstacles: Snow, ice, cars obstructing what little width remains, etc. #biketo” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Simcoe s/b to King. Actually plowed, and entry/exits at intersections not blocked. So, a few hundred metres out of five kilometres of bike lanes I rode this morning were properly plowed. Inexcusable. #takethelane @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory #bikeTO 7/7” / Twitter
Lee Scott on Twitter: “@AndrewLewisFC @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory Posting here 3 photos of Adelaide EB bike lane today between Yonge and Parliament. 11:30am. Note condition of road (and sidewalk).” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Bloor Viaduct w/b Broadview to Castle Frank. Plowed by someone who apparently thought it amusing to leave a thick layer of icy snow with plow tire tracks the entire length of the bridge. Completely unrideable. #takethelane @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory #bikeTO 2/7” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Bloor w/b Castle Frank to Parliament. A cruel joke. Bike lane entirely buried under snow plowed from car lanes. #takethelane @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory #bikeTO 3/7” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Wellesley w/b Parliament to Sherbourne and Sherbourne s/b to Queen. Sort of “plowed” but entirely unrideable because every entry and exit at intersections blocked by snowbanks deposited by plows. #takethelane @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory #bikeTO 4/7″ / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Sherbourne s/b Queen to Richmond. Like on Bloor, plowers didn’t even bother to pretend here. Just dumped all the snow from the car lanes into the bike lane which no longer exists. Bravo. #takethelane @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory #bikeTO 5/7” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Richmond w/b to Simcoe. Marginally rideable if one doesn’t mind a lot of periodic danger from icy plow tracks and blocked exit/entries at intersections. Far safer in mixed traffic. #takethelane @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory #bikeTO 6/7” / Twitter
Gillian Grace on Twitter: “@311Toronto The Bloor East bike lanes between the Viaduct and Sherbourne are still filled with snow this morning” / Twitter
+24 HRS
Michael Holloway – Schroedinger’s Cyclist on Twitter: “Jones Bike Lanes & Rushbrooke needs attention; windrow drift covers them every AM & PM peak. @311Toronto Jones Bike Lanes west side (226 Jones) & east side (13 Jones) Gerrard to Queen needs snow removal. Leslieville to FreshCo via Jones Ave #BikeTO” / Twitter
Michael Holloway – Schroedinger’s Cyclist on Twitter: “@311Toronto The route southbound is Berkshire Ave; northbound it’s Rushbrooke Ave – both local roadways are ice & 2″ packed snow with bare spots; really dangerous for two wheeled vehicles. Eastern Ave Bike Lane at 740 Eastern is covered in snow forcing #bikeTO into traffic at the chicane.” / Twitter
(4) HighVis_T.O._Cyclist on Twitter: “Am retweeting #SherbourneBL usability video from yesterday. Video did not embed properly. Planning on using the Sherbourne cycle track today? You will have to contend with frozen snow obstructions at every cross street and driveway. #BikeTO #WinterCycling” / Twitter
anton lodder on Twitter: “@311Toronto nobody at @TO_WinterOps bothered to clean the #BikeTO on Phoebe st Beverly. please send them back out! this was supposed to have been plowed on Sunday morning” / Twitter
(3) Tim Kraan on Twitter: “@311Toronto please arrange for the Wellesley bike lanes to be plowed at least all the way from Bay to Sherbourne #bikeTO thanks” / Twitter
(2) David Lussier on Twitter: “This is the Sherbourne bike ‘lane’, @311Toronto, but look at the street. We know the City doesn’t care for cyclists but maybe make an effort anyway? #ZeroVision #TOpoli cc: @FFSafeStreets @kristynwongtam @BeckyKatz96 @TOCentreCyclist” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “And now to bookend the day, a #bikeTO thread about my ride home this evening, 2 days after Saturday’s modest storm. It’s important to remember Toronto actually pays companies/people to do the work depicted in these photos 1/6 #takethelane @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Adelaide between York and Bay. Unridable. Note the @TO_WinterOps plow tracks which pushed snow into the bike lane. Happens everywhere, every time. 2/6 #takethelane #bikeTO @311Toronto @JohnTory” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Sherbourne n/b between Richmond & Queen. Can’t say plows “accidentally missed” it because can clearly see where they just stopped. 3/6 #takethelane #bikeTO @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Further up Sherbourne n/b at Gerrard. Remember, @cityoftoronto pays money to have this done. Actual money. 4/6 #takethelane #bikeTO @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Here’s a few more, further up n/b Sherbourne. I don’t ever complain about taxes, ever. But it’s worth pointing out that taxes actually go to pay for this. 5/6 #takethelane #bikeTO @311Toronto @TO_WinterOps @JohnTory” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Annnnnnd the final stop on our tour is Bloor e/b just east of Sherbourne. Just look at this magnificent bastard. Like a Zamboni snow pile behind an arena, it will be in the bike lane until April. Well done @TO_WinterOps. 6/6 #takethelane #bikeTO @311Toronto @JohnTory” / Twitter
nikita on Twitter: “@311Toronto hello, another #biketo snow problem: the northbound/contraflow lane on Shaw from Bloor to Dupont is full of snow. (re-)plowing it will only help so much because the parked cars are just gonna drag more snow across it.” / Twitter
Andrea Bodkin on Twitter: “Almost 48 hrs after snowfall- the priority bike lanes. EB Danforth. @311 @kristynwongtam @PaulaFletcherTO @JohnTory #VisionZero #BikeTO” / Twitter
Lanrick Bennett Jr. on Twitter: “@311Toronto making sure you got @andreabodkin tweet about the conditions of bike lanes on the viaduct. Is there a time frame constituent on both sides of Don River to except clean up the roadways. Pretty dicey riding back this evening #BikeTO” / Twitter
Andrea Bodkin on Twitter: “Almost 48 hrs after snowfall the priority bike lanes WB Danforth @311Toronto @kristynwongtam @JohnTory @PaulaFletcherTO #VisionZero #BikeTO” / Twitter
bryan de-escalation on Twitter: “@311Toronto Eastbound cycle track on Wellesley btwn Bay and Jarvis is 100% unusable. Looks like it was plowed but cars pulling in have filled it with snow. Btwn Jarvis and Parliament it’s about 25% useable #bikeTO” / Twitter
bryan de-escalation on Twitter: “@311Toronto Northbound Bay st bikelane btwn Dundas W and College is buried. Pls arrange for snow removal. Also, north of Bloor the ring &posts are buried and unusable. #bikeTO” / Twitter
Rob McLarty on Twitter: “Private contractors dump their snow & park their trucks on public property w/o paying rent. @joe_cressy & @311Toronto, why are these developers @ Richmond & Augusta allowed to obstruct the public right of way and endanger vuln road users w/o any consequences? #biketo #zerovision” / Twitter
+36 HRS
(1) Andrew on Twitter: “@TO_Cycling @311Toronto Please clear the snow still occupying the bike lanes on Richmond St. from Church St. to University St. It’s a mess. Please send your plowing team to action. Much appreciated, but overdue! #biketo” / Twitter
(3) Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “A tasteful selection of what “a service request for further snow removal” yesterday morning to @TO_WinterOps from @311Toronto got us 24 hrs later in the Viaduct, Bloor, Wellesley, Sherbourne, and Richmond bike lanes. I still mostly had to #takethelane. @JohnTory #bikeTO” / Twitter
Mickael Julliard on Twitter: “Can you get transportation services to properly clear the Blood bike lane? It’s a joke. @311Toronto #biketo” / Twitter
anton lodder on Twitter: “@311Toronto didn’t get a picture but there is a big pile of snow in the Adelaide #BikeTO right at the SW corner of Simcoe intersection. lane is 90% obstructed” / Twitter
Andrew on Twitter: “@BikeShareTO @TO_Cycling @311Toronto Please clear my VIP parking spot – Yonge and Temperance St. It snowed days ago, but still this mess. Thank you very much! #biketo” / Twitter
Kevin Montgomery on Twitter: “The King St. Transit-Prioritized whatever-it’s-called. was generally a good #biketo route this AM — notwithstanding the extra caution required for rail intersections. Ride between the rails, not in the curb lane.” / Twitter
anton lodder on Twitter: “@311Toronto this bike-box at Peter+Queen north side is being used to store snow? supposed to have been cleared on Sunday since it’s on the priority #BikeTO route.” / Twitter
anton lodder on Twitter: “no stopping. this town is a joke for #BikeTO” / Twitter
+48 HRS
(3) Matthew Richardson on Twitter: “@AndrewLewisFC @TO_WinterOps @311Toronto @JohnTory I thought Sherbourne from Bloor to Gerard was markedly better today than yesterday (but as I crossed Wellesley, it looked terrible)” / Twitter
Gillian Grace on Twitter: “@311Toronto And still filled with snow tonight! @Ward14Bikes” / Twitter
(5) Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “The Great Bike Lane Icebergs of Bloor at Sherbourne. I’m going to tweet more or less daily to track whether the April Spring melt or @TO_WinterOps gets rid of them first. Let’s Gooooooooo!!! @311Toronto @kristynwongtam @JohnTory #BikeTO #takethelane” / Twitter
(6) Michael Holloway – Schroedinger’s Cyclist on Twitter: “Biked Dundas St #BikeTO Lanes last night at 6pm. 77 Marjory Ave to Regent Park CC via Dundas St E | @311Toronto Dundas Bike Lanes westbound between Dagmar & Pape were full of parked cars sitting 1.5 metres off the curb due to windrows against the curb.” / Twitter
+60 HRS
Gillian Grace on Twitter: “@311Toronto @Ward14Bikes It’s still really snowy in the Bloor East bike lanes between Sherbourne and the Viaduct on Wednesday morning, both ways. SLIGHTLY more clear west of Sherbourne” / Twitter
Andrew Lewis on Twitter: “Now we know how those tire tracks in bike lanes get made (photos 1&2), will @TO_WinterOps order its drivers to stop? Yes or no? (Photo 3 Sherbourne & 4 Richmond, both this am). @311Toronto pls pass along @PaulaFletcherTO @kristynwongtam #bikeTO @JohnTory @joe_cressy @gordperks” / Twitter
(2) nikita on Twitter: “@311Toronto hi again – college street still has a lot of snow in the westbound curb lane throughout most blocks between manning and lansdowne. this is dangerous for #biketo especially during the evening commute with heavy traffic/impatient drivers.” / Twitter
(2) Aaron Enchin on Twitter: “Great job parking in the bike lane today. As if riding through a poorly plowed bike lane wasn’t hard enough. @TPS_BikeHart @311Toronto” / Twitter
+72 HRS
Mike Whitla on Twitter: “. @311Toronto up and down Roncesvalles the bike lanes that are raised at the streetcar stops are completely inaccessible due to the piling of snow at either side. Can you please send a crew to clear this? #BikeTO” / Twitter
Mike Whitla on Twitter: “. @311Toronto up and down Roncesvalles the bike lanes that are raised at the streetcar stops are completely inaccessible due to the piling of snow at either side. Can you please send a crew to clear this? #BikeTO” / Twitter
+84 HRS
Cars in Bike Lanes TO on Twitter: “Jan 23. 12 cars parked in bike lane SB st George frm Bloor 2 Harbord. @TPSOperations won’t ticket b/c snow, and @311Toronto won’t clear b/c parking, so cyclists don’t get their white line of safety until what, spring?! @m_layton @TO_Cycling @CycleToronto” / Twitter
Jeff Murchison on Twitter: “@311Toronto the Bellevue bike lane south of Colmege st needs a bit of love. It’s been days since it snowed!” / Twitter
+96 HRS
(1) Vivien Leong (she/her) on Twitter: “@311Toronto @myonlinelifenow @andreabodkin @311Toronto I just cycled this tonight – the EB bike lane from Parliament to the west end of the Bloor St Viaduct is still filled with snow/slush. And several overhead lights are either out or not turning on, making this stretch at even more dangerous at night.⚠ @PaulaFletcherTO” / Twitter
+108 HRS
Kevin on Twitter: “Hey @311Toronto, it has been almost a week since the snow and heavy rainfall is expected tonight. Here are some pictures showing how bike lanes looked like last night on Bloor, Shaw and Argyle (all being “cycling snow routes”). Time to finish salting and shovelling? 1/3 #bikeTO” / Twitter
Kevin on Twitter: “2/3” / Twitter
(12) Kevin on Twitter: “3/3” / Twitter
anton lodder on Twitter: “@CarsinLanesTO @TO_Cycling @311Toronto I find it’s hit-and-miss. ive been complaining about the contra-flow lanes on Phoebe/Stephanie for years, and now when I report it someone goes and plows. this turn box, on the other hand, is I guess too new for that?” / Twitter
anton lodder on Twitter: “@Ward14Bikes @311Toronto @CarsinLanesTO @TO_Cycling @m_holloway yes it looked like this as of this morning” / Twitter
+120 HRS
anton lodder on Twitter: “@Ward14Bikes @311Toronto @CarsinLanesTO @TO_Cycling @m_holloway update: still blocked.” / Twitter
Jeff Murchison on Twitter: “@311Toronto Salt won’t cut it here. It’s still full of snow today.” / Twitter
Jeff Murchison on Twitter: “@311Toronto Yes, Bellevue Ave, South of College St.” / Twitter
Cars in Bike Lanes TO on Twitter: “Jan 24. Asked @311Toronto evry day since the snowfall 2 plow. It’s gonna rain, freeze, & snow again this wknd. The “bike lanes” will become evn more dangerous. Can @cityoftoronto b legally responsible 4 injuries, knowing service request were submitted? @TheBikingLawyer″ / Twitter
Cars in Bike Lanes TO on Twitter: “@Ward14Bikes @311Toronto @cityoftoronto @TheBikingLawyer Yes both Jan 24.. first is st George SB at harbors, second is Bloor eb at Palmerston Thanks” / Twitter
+132 HRS
Mike Whitla on Twitter: “. @311Toronto this is Montrose and Harbord. Bike lane is contaflow and bikes are being forced into oncoming traffic as the bike lane is not cleared. Please send a crew to clear this. #BikeTO” / Twitter
+144 HRS
+156 HRS
+168 HRS
+180 HRS
anton lodder on Twitter: “@Ward14Bikes @311Toronto @CarsinLanesTO @TO_Cycling @m_holloway update: STILL BLOCKED” / Twitter
+192 HRS
+204 HRS
anton lodder on Twitter: “@311Toronto there is still a big pile of snow in the bike-box at the north-west corner of College + St. George. looks like it won’t be melting any time soon, can we get it cleaned up?” / Twitter


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