News / Edmonton

Edmonton non-car commuters weigh in on their treks to work in the snow

"You should always pick the snow option," says one woman, who took her kids to school by snowshoe

Winter city believers: Jay Smith took her children to school in that most Canadian of ways Tuesday — by snowshoe. It beat being stuck in traffic, she said.

Supplied/Jay Smith

Winter city believers: Jay Smith took her children to school in that most Canadian of ways Tuesday — by snowshoe. It beat being stuck in traffic, she said.

Monday's late-day snow led to Tuesday's frustrations on Edmonton roads. But while a majority of discussion centred on the conditions for drivers, Metro wanted to know what the conditions meant for cyclists, pedestrians and otherwise.

So we asked three people: How did you get to work today, what was the biggest challenge, what is the city getting right for that commute and what should change in the future?

Here's what they said:

Conrad Nobert
Pedestrian advocate

1) I walked a few blocks to the nearest Pogo car, drove to the edge of the Pogo zone and then walked the last 10 blocks to work.

2) Sidewalks that weren't shoveled.

3) The city had already plowed and sanded the major arteries before I left for work. They did a great job this morning.

4) I don't see how the city can respond faster than they do. The snow was falling all night!

Chris Chan
Cycling advocate

1) Bike and walk, and if the weather holds, I plan to ski on Wednesday.

2) I normally use service roads, shared-use paths and the river valley for most of my commute. None of those were in rideable shape this morning, and there are no sidewalks in my neighbourhood, either, so I did a lot of walking in the street where I didn't want to ride on the major roads.

3) I expect most of the main shared-use paths will be cleared by tonight or tomorrow. The city has a target of 48 hours to clear them. Following #yegbike on Twitter and winterbiking.ca is helpful to figure out road conditions in advance.

4) Being able to access real-time information on whether or not a trail has been cleared, directly from the city, would be very useful. I don't mind driving, busing or walking to work, but I'd like to have up-to-date information available to make an informed decision.

Jay Smith
Active transit advocate

1) I dropped off my kids at school on snowshoes. I figured it would be more fun than walking. It was a blast.

2) Snowshoeing is not fast. We took 35 minutes to snowshoe the one mile. It's also hard work — we had to take some breaks.

3) I think our choice of transportation embraced the fact that I knew there wouldn't be any maintenance in effect for other modes of active transit.

4) I hope that more parents realize that when it's a choice of being late because you're stuck in traffic, being late because you're stuck on public transit, or being late because you decided to romp through the snow with your kids, you should always pick the snow option.

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