Manitoba

Surefoot website warns Winnipeggers of slippery sidewalks

Walking around Winnipeg in the winter is now a little safer, thanks to a new online bulletin that grades sidewalk and street conditions.

Walking around Winnipeg in the winter is now a little safer, thanks to a new online bulletin that grades sidewalk and street conditions.

Surefoot.org, a website launched by the City of Winnipeg, provides daily updates based on observations from city street maintenance staff.

Winnipeg is the first city to offer this kind of bulletin, said Coun. Harvey Smith, who broke his left hip after falling on a slippery sidewalk near city hall late last month.

Now in a wheelchair and undergoing treatment in hospital, Smith said he did not intend to be the poster child for Surefoot.

"I didn't plan it. I didn't want to get injured myself," Smith told reporters from the Health Sciences Centre on Thursday.

"Let me tell you this — this is the worst experience of my whole life."

Ratings from 'easy' to 'hazardous'

The Surefoot site has four ratings ranging from "easy" to "hazardous," with the latter status taking effect whenever there is freezing rain.

Conditions were "moderate" on Thursday, with less than five centimetres of loose snow on the ground.

In moderate conditions, the site warns pedestrians to "take precaution when using sidewalks," such as walking slowly and wearing footwear with non-slip soles.

In the event of hazardous conditions, the site advises people to stay indoors and not travel on walkways.

Smith, who is 75 years old, said the site benefits more than just the elderly.

"It suits many, many people: the elderly [and] anyone who's going to be outdoors. We want to encourage walking," he said.