02 January 2010

Snow Clearing

Copenhagen Winter
The amount of snow that fell during the Climate Conference ranged between 10 cm and 50 cm in a day. Most of the bike lanes along the main streets were cleared pre-emptively of snow but less busy streets had to wait a day or so for snowploughing. The reason was not just the amount of snow, but also the fact that Copenhagen's resources were apparently stretched to the limit during the climate conference so the usual level of service was delayed.

Nevertheless, Copenhageners just slowed down and took it easy until freer passage was available on bike lanes like the one above.

It's snowing again as I write this and we're back to normal. The bike lanes are cleared and salted while snow lies on either side.

Bike Lane Snowplough
Copenhagen Keirin.
The City is responsible for clearing the bike lanes of snow and debris. House/building owners, like most places, are responsible for the sidewalks.

Bike Lane Maintenence Bike Lane Maintenence
Brushes are used on the bike lane maintenence vehicles. At the back, salt is spun out onto the bike lane. The brushes are generally adequate even in heavy snowfall since the snowploughs will run up and down busy sections in repetitive cycles if need be. As opposed to waiting for the snow to fall and THEN clearing it.
Follow the Salt Snowstorm Ploughing
More bicycle infrastructure maintenence vehicles. The photo on the left is of a tractor that was drafted in during a snowstorm to assist the regular bike lane vehicles.
Bike Lane Snowplow in Höör Sweden
Even in smaller towns in Denmark and, in the photo above, Sweden, bike lanes are cleared regularly. Our summer house is near Höör, Sweden, a town of about 7000 people, and here they clear the bike lanes with ploughs to allow the people free passage on two wheels.


Peter said...

All I can say is that I'm jealous.

Here in the Philadelphia area we had an unusual 24 inches (61 cm) December snowfall before Christmas.

The city just plowed all the snow into the bike lanes.

What particularly annoyed me is that they recently narrowed the lanes on a critical bridge (in the NJ suburbs where I live) so they could widen the sidewalk as a multi-use path. The sidewalk, of course, wasn't cleared, and the narrowed road lanes weren't safely sharable.

Because of this bridge I couldn't commute to work for a week.

Richard said...

Very good. It shows that the city government thinks about the citizens needs. Unfortunately, unlike where I live.

Lloyd Alter said...

what is the purpose of the black panel on the third picture down? I have seen this before and wonder why they are installed.

Mikael said...

Lloyd: They are screens to protect our trees from slush, salt and spray in the winter.

they come in a variety of styles. sometimes plastic, sometimes wood, sometimes woven wicker.

Kiwehtin said...

For Lloyd-

A different approach, but sometimes I see young sidewalk trees in Montreal shielded by a sleeve of some kind of plastic or similar material around the trunk.

Green Idea Factory said...

In Berlin there is a some plowing but seemingly no salting of the bikepaths (on the same level as the pavement). I can only guess this is for environmental and/or economic reasons. Salt would flow into tree roots, whereas the salt in the car part of the street simply flows into the sewer and then down the Elbe etc. towards... Denmark.

So, right now - a couple days after a major snowfall - the bikepath parts of the pavement are getting rather compacted and icy, and may get worse with frozen ruts, etc. Needless to say it does not make things easy for cycling.

Fortunately in Berlin cyclists are allowed to ride in the car-dominated part of the street but of course this leaves out a lot of people who don't feel safe doing that.

Salt is clearly bad for the environment, after all CPH and Berlin and elsewhere does not want it getting into trees. I also know as a human companion of dogs that salt can be really painful for them, though one of my dogs who was very sensitive a couple of weeks ago seems not to be bothered now. My thinking is that they changed the formula and that time they were simply using last year's remainders.

But also there is salt-free de-icing stuff. In CPH do pavements (sidewalks) get salted? Here they just get gritted, which works well and lasts.