Snow = slow

The first snowfall of the year hit the city this week, and the usual whining came quickly. So quickly that the National Post saw fit to make fun of us (even though nobody called in the army).

Because the storm was larger than expected, and because the worst of it hit during rush hour, traffic was backed up, and buses and plows couldn’t get through.

Patrick Lagacé asks: Is this normal?

Allow me to answer:

Yes this is normal!

Every year we get the same crap. People expect that ever block in the city has its own private snow-clearing team waiting for the first flakes to fall. Every year they forget that it takes a couple of days to clear snow off every street in the city.

The people who were unprepared for the first snowfall weren’t working for the city, they’re you. You without your winter tires. You without boots that have traction on ice. You who thought it would be a good idea to take your car downtown when the forecast called for snow. You who didn’t add extra time to your commuting schedule to account for delays caused by heavy snowfall.

I admit I’m a bit spoiled in all this. I take the metro exclusively to work (and during odd hours), so I rarely have to wait in line in the cold for a bus that’s half an hour late.

But even when I lived on the West Island and took an hour and a half to get downtown every day, I still understood that snowstorms cause delays. Why is it so hard for everyone else to understand the concept?

UPDATE (Dec. 14): Stéphane Laporte agrees with me: Winter happens. Get over it.

12 thoughts on “Snow = slow

  1. DAVE ID

    Because Montrealers are whiners. I was wondering something this week, during the storm as my fellow Montrealers were flapping their gums about the impeding destruction of society by snowflakes, if people in snow covered countries like Sweden or Norway or GULP! Icelan, complain and bitch this much about a few fucking flakes they know are coming. Come on people. It’s snow, deal with it, it keeps coming every year. STFU and get over it.

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  2. Vahan

    I actually enjoy the commotion of the first snow day. I love watching all the idiots grid locking and getting frustrated stuck in their cars. I, like you, am a user of public transit. No matter how inefficient it may be. At least I do not have to waste gas sitting going nowhere. But you have to admit that the city is doing a terrible job. They do have the cops and do not use them to direct traffic. We all know the major intersections that get blocked during storms in the core of the city. If the cops get out of their cars and push people through, it would be more efficient and the streets would be cleared sooner. As a matter of fact I have seen a pattern of not seeing a single cop car out on the street during a storm.

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  3. Shawn

    Forgive me, Steve, but you’re probably not old enough to remember the Drapeau years, when the snow plows really did run on time.

    There has been a marked deterioration in the city’s ability to promptly clear streets and sidewalks, for whatever the reason, IMO.

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  4. Vahan

    You know what? I don’t think we are whiners, we just want the old farts running this city to get up and do something with our tax dollars. Every snowstorm they have an excuse as to why they did not clean up the city, or why it took two weeks or whatever. Come on I have lived in this city for 43 years, I have seen better. But if we look at it from a different angle isn’t it amazing how much we are attached to the car culture? They clean the streets for the cars, people have to dig out their cars, the traffic is created by cars, pedestrians are hit by slipping and sliding cars, environment Canada puts out smog reports because of cars, o.k and fireplaces, but really mostly cars. Our economy is so stuck on cars. People get frustrated in cars, people use cell phones in cars and ignore others on the road, traffic lights are needed to be kept up for cars, parking spaces need to be cleared for cars, salt is spread all over the road and leak into our waters because of cars, rubber particles come off tires and into our atmosphere because of cars, idiots don’t want to mess up their cars so they throw their cigarettes out the window along with the wrappers and other garbage,gas prices jack up and users pay more for their daily commute in cars and less on food, people do not walk because of cars, they get fat because of cars, arteries clog because of cars, heart attacks because of cars, our hospitals stretched to the max because of cars, white boys crank up the bass on rap music and act tough in their mommies cars. The car manufacturers want hand outs and the economy is on the ledge waiting to jump to its’ death. Cars, cars,cars, cars,cars. Did you know more people in the U.S were killed by cars than both World Wars?

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  5. JF Prieur

    I think there is something else, aren’t the blue collar workers in contract negotiations at this moment? I have NEVER seen the roads as deserted with snow removal equipment as the last two days, seriously. And the fact that they keep on hammering “oh we have every one out there” makes me think something is up, they don’t want to ruffle any feathers. I think this is a pressure tactic from the blue collar workers to show Moumoune Tremblay who is the boss. As usual, our spineless leaders will bend over backwards to play nice…

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  6. princess iveylocks

    At least you live in a city that clears sidewalks. And roads.

    Hell, your city has roads that aren’t collapsing into sinkholes on a monthly basis.

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  7. karine

    OMG I am sick and tired of this story coming back year after year. Not the part about the city not clearing the streets promptly (by now I shocked when they do) but the bitching and whining about Winter and the stories of people, who have been in Montreal since birth or have been here for at least a couple of winters, who are not prepared for the time of year between Nov 1st and (hopefully) March 31st. It’s like come April 1st, if another snow storm doesn’t hit the city, we forget everything. I haven’t had a car in 7 years but I still remember a major storm we had on an April 9th, I foolishly assumed that if I got out of the house 45 minutes early that I’d be fine. First I was hit with a mini snow hill in lieu of my car, I had trouble climbing up my street over so I had to back to the cross street to get moving, and all I was doing was going to a friend’s show downtown. That storm had the positive effect of making me respect Winter and more importantly, snow, no matter the amount. That day I learned that if you dig your car out before it stops snowing, you will have less work when if finally does stop and I also learned that I can’t expect to move around the city in winter like I can in summer, whether on foot, public transport or car.

    And one more thing, I love my scooter but mine was put away once I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore. Today I saw someone riding around and all I could do is shake my head.

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  8. Edna

    Hey, Vahan, do you know the World Wars lasted about eight years and cars have been around for more than 120 years? Apples. Oranges.

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  9. Vahan

    Thanks Edna. Yes the chronology is right. Wars main aim is to kill and maim while cars were invented for convenience. But give an egotistical drunk, a hormone filled youth and an idiot arguing with his business partner on a cellphone a car and you have killers on your hand.

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  10. Ofelia

    For the love of God, the Drapeau years???? of course we remember those years, we also remember there was less cars on the road and people…c’mon, any type of excuse and reasonsing is just simply biatching for no reason. My parents have been here for over 40 years.. they don’t biatch about it. I have never seen a bigger bunch of complainers that you all (meaning montrealers’ not you commenters). Thetre are FAR worse things that you can go thru in life than being stuck in traffic… go check out a hospital ward at the children’s or palliative care unit. yeah sure, someone will write back and say that i am brining up something irrelevant, again…any excuse to biatch!! continue on while i mourn the loss of a family member…

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