Southland sidewalks remain covered in ice, despite repeated calls

Some Calgarians say they're upset that, after repeated requests, the city has not cleared a long sidewalk along a major artery in the southwest.

Councillor says priority for snow clearing is on roads

Stephen Babey walks to and from the Southland LRT Station and says the sidewalk he takes to get there is covered in dangerous ice. (Elizabeth Snaddon/CBC)

Some Calgarians say they're upset that the city has not cleared a long sidewalk along a major artery in the southwest after repeated requests.

Many commuters use the route on the south side of Southland Drive between Macleod Trail and Elbow Drive to get to and from the Southland LRT station.

A note has been taped up at the Southland LRT Station, asking commuters to call the city about snow- and ice-covered sidewalks around the area. (Elizabeth Snaddon/CBC)

Cement is underneath the snow and ice somewhere, but John Delahunt says he hasn't seen it in a while.

“Probably since, I'd say, early January when it started getting really warm again,” said Delahunt.

“And it just freezes and snows on top of that and gets compacted.”

Delahunt says he would like something done about it, even if it's just some salt.

Stephen Babey, who uses a cane, says the inches of hard ice and snow are very dangerous.

“It's disgraceful. I think it's unwalkable — it's like an obstacle course.”

311 calls pour in to city

Babey and others have been calling the city. There’s even a sign up urging others to do the same.

“I called the 311 number, I called the appropriate people in the city, I got no response so that's why I'm here is to try to get some action.”

Brian Pincott, the area councillor, confirms 311, city council and city hall are getting a ton of calls about sidewalks. 

But he says councillors can't make decisions on where work is done.

“Yes, I could throw my weight around and say, ‘You must get to this person who called me now,’ and have all the crews leave where they are and go do that but that would be incredibly inefficient having them chasing the councillor's phone calls.”

Pincott says that specific stretch is one that the city is trying to get to.

“Sidewalks end up being a lower priority than getting roads cleared. And, as you know, every single available person is out working on the roads.”

City council will be briefed Monday about snow clearing progress.

Patience needed, says city

The city is asking Calgarians to be patient.

Sean Somers, with the city transportation department, says they are still receiving a record number of calls asking about snow clearance but crews are doing as much as they can, as quickly as they can.

"If you drive into the downtown core, what's close to home for us is City Hall. It's curb-to-curb bare pavement and the roads are dry. Folks cannot expect that same level of service in the residential communities."

Somers says the city estimates it will have spent $12 million on roads in January alone.

The city's entire budget for 2014 is $34 million.

He says the city still has work to do in another 20 communities and crews hope to get the remainder done this weekend.

Calgary commuters have called a sidewalk leading up to the Southland LRT station an "obstacle course." (Elizabeth Snaddon/CBC)