City transit driver frustrated with sloppy streets

By Jill Sperling
February 15, 2017 - 6:30pm
Image Credit: Kent Simmonds / CFJC Today

KAMLOOPS — It's beginning to feel like Spring, and while that has many people rejoicing, others are becoming increasingly frustrated with what the warm weather is doing to city streets. 

Drivers and pedestrians are dealing with a sloppy mix of water, snow, and slush. 

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"It's snowballing as the weather warms up there's more water on the road," said transit driver, Joan Swetlikoff. "The snow is turning to ice faster so people are sliding and slipping, the drains are not uncovered so the water is just sitting there. We're splashing people on the sidewalk because we can't move over." 

Swetlikoff feels the city has been slow to clear the transit routes and her frustrations are turning into concerns.

"We don't have enough lane to drive in," she said. "Passengers are not safe getting on and off the buses because they have to climb over mountains of snow and ice, and we can't get into the bus stops. It's just not safe for us, or for the passengers, the public in general."

Streets and Environmental Services Manager Glen Farrow says city crews are out in force, maintaining the streets by plowing and sanding, dealing with pot holes, and removing the windrows affecting transit. 

"We have seen some lanes become more narrow based on the size of the windrow, so we're really looking to attack those and clean those up," Farrow said. "Part of it is relying on the weather to help us out with decreasing the size of the windrows, but we are also doing our part in removing that snow from the edge of the road." 

Crews have removed windrows from the downtown core three times this winter. 

"Historically, it might be once," Farrow said. "For quite a few years earlier we weren't going downtown at all, we weren't removing windrows at all because the amount of snow was so minimal."

That's not the case this year, and with the larger amounts of snow come larger pools of water. 

"Today is a beautiful day, we're seeing a lot of snow melt, with that we're keeping a close eye on those catch basins, ensuring they're cleared out and ready for the larger amounts." 

While the city tries to keep up with the challenges presented by the warmer weather Swetlikoff is urging people to have some respect for bus drivers.

"Slow down, give us time to pull in and out of curbs, and let the passengers sit down once we've loaded before we take off," Swetlikoff said.

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