Residents’ frustration mounts as high as the snowbanks in Toronto

Some pedestrians forced to walk in the streets due to lack of sidewalk clearing

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It was a treacherous, icy, snowy walk – especially so for Anna Statakos, who is elderly and walks with a cane.

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On Tuesday afternoon, Statakos was shuffling slowly along Kingston Rd., Her steps extra careful because she was forced to walk on the busy road, facing oncoming traffic.

“It’s very dangerous,” she said.

A long stretch of the sidewalk that makes up Statakos’ east-end route, near Kingston and Fenwood Heights, was still covered with snow.

On her residential street, there was no improvement.

“We do not have sidewalks here,” she added.

The safer area close to the curb was still buried under piles of snow a week after a massive snowstorm hit the GTA and beyond.

“The city has to clean this up, man,” said Saleh Osman, gesturing toward a covered sidewalk. “They have to help us out.”

He was walking west on Kingston Rd. but found himself jumping onto the busy street rather than traverse a sidewalk that was essentially a snowbank.

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A pedestrian walks on the road next to a snowbank in the Kingston Rd.-Fenwood Heights area.  SCOTT LAURIE / TORONTO SUN
A pedestrian walks on the road next to a snowbank in the Kingston Rd.-Fenwood Heights area. SCOTT LAURIE / TORONTO SUN

“It’s messed up, man. When you see over there, it’s all clear, but over here there is a lot of snow. They do not care, ”he said as traffic zipped by on Kingston Rd.

City staffers say anyone with a problem that needs to be solved should call 311.

“Our team is out there every day investigating and resolving those complaints,” said Barbara Gray, general manager of transportation services.

Since last week’s storm walloped the city, the 311 service has received “about 6,000 requests,” Gray said.

Just over 2,000 of those requests have been dealt with, she added.

The city says it has field investigators patrolling, looking for areas with problems.

But making matters worse: Another 7-10 cm fell Monday night, adding to the workload.

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“It’s a huge volume of snow still, so we do not have a timeline,” Gray said.

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Crews have, so far, removed about 19,000 tons of snow, clearing 270 km of roads.

“We are running the city’s biggest snow operation in the city’s history and we are responding to one of the biggest snowstorms we’ve ever had,” Gray said.

Last week’s storm is considered five times bigger than an average significant snowstorm in Toronto.

“Unprecedented,” the city says, warning that cleanup will take “several more days.”

“Clearing this record snow will take some time, but we are working around the clock,” Gray said.

As millions dig out and struggle just to get around, many are unimpressed.

“It’s ridiculous,” Osman said.

slaurie@postmedia.com

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