Monday, December 19, 2016

Slush city

Where to walk? Where to bike? Pedestrians and cyclists have to sort it out as best they can as they head south on the Burrard Bridge. The fact that the sidewalk and a cycling lane are closed off during the bridge's reconstruction  adds to the confusion.

This view north from the Burrard Bridge doesn't make it look any more inviting. The slush and snow have caused chaos on city streets. Notice how few cars there are at mid-afternoon Monday.

A closer view of the slush on the bridge. 

This walkway on the north side of False Creek has at least been cleared, although there is still plenty of ice to skid on if you're not careful.

A big limb of a tree cracked off -- probably because of the weight of  snow  -- and lies across a sidewalk  on Cypress Street on Monday afternoon. The sidewalk has been shovelled, but it's still impassible!

I took this to illustrate how sidewalks are cleared in bits and pieces. You can walk for 30 feet on clear pavement, then the rest of the block can be an icy mess. This particular sidewalk is tricky because it is on a steep slope.

Even sidewalks on main streets like West Broadway aren't clear. This section at least has a bare trail near the building, but some don't.

Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis Presley huddle in a little threesome as if they're trying to keep warm in the snow. These statues normally stand in more visible positions outside the restaurant behind them. 

Poor Marilyn has a wodge of snow on the upturned hem of her skirt. It was never this cold in The Seven Year Itch!

Very soon after everyone has stopped admiring the picture-postcard beauty of a snowfall here and started coping with what it means on the ground, they start praying for rain. A good heavy rain can wash all that beauty -- and bother -- away in a couple of days. What we don't want is clear skies; sunshine guarantees we're going to be sloshing our way through gradually melting snow for a very long time indeed.

The forecasters broke our hearts by predicting a deluge Sunday night, then delivering -- thanks to a slight dip in the temperature -- a fresh blanket of snow Monday morning. The sun came out and temperatures rose. In my garden, big blobs of half-melted snow fell off the trees, landing with a thud. Small bushes bent under the snow's weight. Later in the day, I walked home from a dentist's appointment through a sloshy stew of ice, water and half-melted snow. Even though there's a city bylaw requiring businesses and homeowners to clean adjacent sidewalks, even the main streets were a slushy nightmare. In residential areas, less than half the sidewalks were cleared.

Perhaps, after two weeks of this unaccustomed duress, Vancouverites are simply giving up. But our block must be made of sterner stuff: after every snowfall, people are out there shovelling. By the time I got home Monday, wet-footed from all the icy streams I had forded, I was pleased by more than the fact that I had finally made it. Unlike so many areas I had just passed through, from one end of our block to the other, the sidewalk in front of every house was clean.

The fronds of these palm trees are looking a bit yellow; it seems odd to see palms along a snowy sidewalk.

Another plant not too happy with the snow: this is the azalea bush in my front garden that turns a bright red in spring. The weight of water-logged snow is hard on its branches. Every so often, I go out with a broom and clear it off. 

The apple tree in our back yard is a study in black and white on a day like Monday. 

And, the birdbath had a fresh new poof of snow on it Monday morning. It will be awhile before any bird bathes in it again. 

John, under those cursed blue skies, on the north shore of False Creek on Monday. He doesn't look too happy in the snow, which is cutting into his cycling. Bring on the rain!

1 comment:

  1. What a mess! Weren't we all just complaining about the rain...and then not too long ago complaining about the lack of rain....
    We're glad to have missed it all at least for the moment.