17 December 2008

Winter Message from the City

City Reminder
Public service poster from the City of Copenhagen about the winter weather. Featuring a lovely photo of a cyclist in a winter wonderland.

The text reads:
Happy Christmas. If it turns out to be white we'll clear the snow and salt the bike lanes and roads.

The only thing you have to do is clear the snow and salt the sidewalk in front of your property.

Read more about who does what on kk.dk/vinter.

Such a lovely tone and a pleasant photo. Nice.


njh said...

Lovely! I'm jealous :) Fort Collins does at least clean the bike paths as soon as they can.

Adrienne Johnson said...

Every time someone talks about salting the roads, I wonder about something- does it cause salination problems in the adjacent water ways and planting areas, when the spring rains and melt start?

William said...

Good question. If the sewer-system is up to date, it shouldn't be a problem, right?
But it is a lot of salt, and gravel-roads are also salted. It's certainly worth wondering about.
Luckily, the use of "environmentally friendly salt" is becoming more widespread. This "salt" is actually Carbamide, also known as Urea, and it decomposes into ammonia, which, when dissolved in water, turns into ammonium - a fertilizer.

This could actually be a bigger problem, because of over-fertilization, which requires more careful water-treatment - also, the resulting growths need to be kept down, a task often solved with pesticides, which unfortunately has a tendency to go into the ground, and turn up in our drinking-water, after twenty years or so.

There are actually a lot of different types of 'salt', and all of them has sideeffects.

Mikael said...

i recall reading ages ago about how salting roads speeds the deteroration of the roads, too. not very cost efficient to have to repair the roads a few years earlier than planned.

David Hembrow said...

We've just seen a report on the BBC news about how the health service in the UK has rather more than the usual number of people turning up, and how some hospitals are full due to the number of people injured in collisions (mostly of cars, also pedestrians and cyclists) due to ice.

It may cost money to clear the roads, but it's almost certainly cheaper than dealing with the after-effects of not doing so.

I've yet to slip on ice at all in the Netherlands, as it's taken seriously here just as in Denmark.

Erik Sandblom said...

One disadvantage of salt is that it eats bicycles! I prefer sand or grit which is what they use here. The plow doesn't remove all the ice and snow, but as long as it's gritted it doesn't matter much, because it's not slippery.

peteathome said...

Makes me jealous. While not really a fan of the Copenhagen bike separation, I wouldn't mind it in the winter.

Here, when it snows, they just plow it to the sides. So what was a nice, sharable lane becomes a narrow lane with slippery ice to one side.

I normally "take the lane" when the lane is too narrow to share, but crazed SUV drivers, who think that 4-wheel drive lets them stop faster - I've had conversations with a few SUV drivers where I tell them that ALL cars have 4-wheel brakes! - dissuades me.

Mikael said...

ah, yes, but salt makes bicycles rusty, which is the most charming kind of bicycle!

'the copenhagen bike separation' - also known as 'dozens and dozens of european cities bike separation' :-)

njh said...

pete, I used to believe what you are saying, but I've noticed that people seem to prefer riding on bike lanes. Here in San Jose, where there are lots of bike lanes and separated paths people ride bikes lots, where there aren't they don't (we can argue about the direction of causation later).

Knowing vehicular cycling is a core skill, but it is silly to think that a single cyclist riding through town taking the lane is going to engender sympathy, jealousy or advocacy. See?

peteathome said...

Causation vs. correlation, yeah. Here in Philadelphia we have lots of bicyclists, too, because the city is compact, cars are hard to park and get around in, so bikes are the easiest way to get around. Had lots of bikes before we put in lanes and now have them with bike lanes.

Totally different topic - so in Copenhagen they are very careful about salting and plowing. Very, very, nice. Still, there has to be times when the snow gets ahead of the plows. I assume people still have to get around on their bikes. Do people use tires on their city bikes that can handle an inch or so of snow? If so, what types (Schwalbe's commuters, maybe?) would you recommend?

I find, here in the USA, that there's very little available between heavily nubbed mountain bike tires and nearly smooth hybrid bike tires with decorative-only tread patterns. I assume that very minor nubbing would help a lot on lightly snow covered streets.

Mikael said...

i often wonder why we hear so little about Philadelphia when by all accounts it's a fine cycling city.

Regarding tyres... nobody who cycles daily for transport changes tyres for winter. they just use the tyres they have on whatever bike they have. seriously. nothing changes on the bicycle when the weather changes.

sure, there are probably commuters who ride farther on fancy bikes who do some adjustments, but that's just a small percent of the collective masses.

i have no idea what to recommend.

If the snow does get ahead of the snowploughs, people just slow down. I find riding in fresh snow to be rather easy when going in a straight line.

Montrealer said...

If I understand correctly, they don't clear the sidewalks???

Mikael said...

not in front of private homes, no. isn't that the same over there? aren't homeowners responsible for shovelling the snow in front of their houses?