This content originally appeared on my former Chicagosphere online-media blog, hosted on the Chicago Tribune‘s ChicagoNow network.
Last week’s allegedly heavy snowfall got me thinking about a couple of things. First, that Chicago meteorologists are way too melodramatic–it’s Chicago, it’s winter, it snows, we live here, we know that. Second, that maybe there’s an even snowier major city that deals better with the white stuff than we do. There is, and a Chicagoan in Montreal tells all about it.
Frank Hashimoto, a Chicago native, and his wife have lived in the Quebecois metropolis for several years. Hashimoto started his Chicagoan in Montreal blog to help him parse the differences between the snow city of his birth and the one he chose as a new home. (The original version was located at Blogger.)
In addition to a veritable travelogue of posts about what happens to be one of my favorite cities on the planet (besides this one)–including a nifty new Montreal Survival Guide for newbies–Hashimoto devotes several popular posts to the subject of snow and cold. Since it gets colder and snows more in Montreal during the winter, unlike in Chicago the flakes rarely have time to melt.
So, as Hashimoto describes in detail, Montreal just removes the snow. With regularity, the Francophone city declares temporary no parking zones street-by-street, uses little bulldozers to push sidewalk snow into the street (similar to the machines Chicago uses to clear snow off sidewalks in the Loop), then uses giant snow-blowers to get all the street snow into equally huge dump trucks, and just hauls–it–off. Voila! Snowless streets and sidewalks.
I bet you wish Chicago did that. Unfortunately, as Mayor Daley noted this month, our city refuses to even enforce the ordinance requiring residents and shop owners to shovel their sidewalks. Kind of makes our current snow removal policy seem positively Bilandic, doesn’t it?
The Active Transportation Alliance has a different idea. They’d like to remind Chicagoans to shovel. It’s the neighborly thing to do after all. And if one of your neighbors doesn’t, they recommend leaving one of these pre-printed complaint fliers taped to their front door.
And while you’re at it, move their dibs chair, too. They have it coming.