How to navigate Halifax on foot when the snowbanks are taller than you
It could be a couple weeks before all sidewalks in the city are cleared
Drivers in the Halifax area aren't just navigating around large snowbanks after this week's blizzard, they're sharing the road with pedestrians. The city warns it could be a couple of weeks before all sidewalks are finally cleared.
Nobody knows the current perils of being a pedestrian better than Deborah Buck, who fell during her walk to the grocery store in Spryfield Wednesday morning.
"You have to cross this lane, but you have to cross this mountain to cross the lane, and I had to slide on my arse to get down a couple of times," she said. "I slipped and fell and I didn't make it into the road, thank God.
"You could fall right into the traffic zone and they're not going to see you. Crunch crunch, they may hear you."
Buck said she completely understands that the city is working as fast as it can to clear snow. She just wishes drivers understood her predicament.
"It's dangerous and the motorists look at you like, 'Why aren't you on the sidewalk?' Well there is no sidewalk!"
There have been no pedestrian accidents reported to police in the Halifax area since the blizzard, and they're hoping to keep it that way if people follow some basic tips to navigating the snowy city.
Face the traffic
Pedestrians should always walk towards the traffic, said Const. Dianne Penfound with Halifax Regional Police.
"You want to be able to see what's coming towards you," she said. "If goodness forbid you have to make a dive for it, you can."
Pedestrians must use the sidewalks if they've been cleared, but if plows haven't arrived yet, police won't be ticketing those forced onto the roads.
Leave dark clothes at home
Both the city and police are emphasizing the need to wear bright, reflective clothing. This will help drivers and those operating snow-clearing equipment to spot pedestrians.
Don't just throw on any pair of old sneakers, either, said Penfound. "Really try to have good footwear so you don't slip as you're sharing the roadway with vehicles."
Catching the bus
The city's priority is to clear the bus stops first, ideally before Thursday, so people have a safe space to wait for their rides. That work happens overnight, said spokesperson Tiffany Chase.
"It does require loaders and different equipment that can impede traffic," she said. If a bus stop isn't cleared, passengers are asked to stand either on the snowbank or behind it.
"It's not ideal," said Chase. "We would prefer that you do not wait on the roadway. We don't want to have any safety issues with other vehicles."
She said bus drivers have been told to slow down at every stop to make sure they're not missing people behind snowbanks.
"Try to make sure you're visible to the driver."