You are here:

Even The Tiniest Snowbank Can Be a Tripping Hazard

Editor's Note: This article is reprinted from the Toronto Star, February 26, 2007.

A small snowbank can create big problems when you can't see it.

The cleanup following the last snowstorm to hit us before today's dump resulted in the usual piles last week on street corners and at transit stops.

If a snowbank is in the way, most of us can just clamber over it or go around.

It's no big deal.

But for people who are blind or must use a wheelchair or scooter, the same snowbank can amount to an impassable obstacle.

It becomes a perilous tripping hazard or a reason to detour into the street--where drivers may not be able to see them.

David Swiderski, who is blind, called last week to ask about a snowbank on the southeast corner of Dentonia Park and Thyra Aves., near Danforth and Victoria Park Aves.

Swiderski was having trouble getting over the snowbank when crossing from the southwest to the southeast side of Dentonia Park, forcing him out into the roadway, which he said he found scary.

We agreed to meet him at the corner, on a sunny day when warm temperatures had considerably reduced the pile of snow. Swiderski soon appeared with his guide dog Marty, at the point where Thyra comes to a dead end, near the Crescent Town housing development. A large mound of melting snow had created a huge puddle, which he could not see and waded into.

He showed us how he'd earlier stumbled over the snowbank and had to walk out into traffic to go around it.

Even though the pile of snow was much smaller due to the thaw, it was still slippery and he couldn't see it.

Just then, a front-end loader from a city contractor came roaring down the street.

Perfect timing, we thought. He can get rid of it in one scoop. We tried to flag him down.

He looked at us as if we were Martians, then kept going.

We didn't think there was enough snow left to call anybody at the city about it, but what to do?

Snow shovels abounded on the porches of nearby homes, so we borrowed one and cleaned it up ourselves in 10 minutes.

Problem solved.

Who got it fixed: We did.

Reprinted courtesy of Torstar Syndication Services.