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Impassable sidewalks forcing St. James students onto streets to get to school

Click to play video: 'Snow-packed sidewalks causing problems for kids' Snow-packed sidewalks causing problems for kids
Snow-packed sidewalks are creating massive concerns for families whose kids walk to school. As Global's Abigail Turner reports, the St. James neighbourhood seems to be hit hard by leftover pile-ups of snow. – Feb 23, 2022

Many city sidewalks appear to be the dumping grounds for leftover snow from recent storms. In St. James, residents say it’s a growing concern for kids in the area who walk to school.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the city’s website shows a zero per cent completion rate of residential sidewalk plows, known as P3 routes.

Longtime St. James resident Rod Peters says the lack of snow clearing is unprecedented.

“I’ve been here 20 years, and I’ve never seen it this bad,” Peters told Global News.

Read more: Snow piles frustrate Winnipeggers as cleanup continues

From not plowing, to simply pushing piles of snow onto sidewalks instead, Peters says a lack of proper snow-clearing is a common theme throughout his neighbourhood.

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“It’s just awful, it’s horrible,” he says. “Kids have to walk on the road to get to school and that scares me because somebody’s gonna get hurt.”

Scott Gillingham, the city councillor for the ward, says he’s received several calls from concerned families and business owners about impassible sidewalks.

“Crews get out and they clear the P1 and (P2) streets and then they get close to clearing P3 sidewalks but the snow comes again in they’re right back to clear ones and twos,” Coun. Gillingham says.

Click to play video: 'City preaching patience as clearing of massive snow piles expected to take weeks' City preaching patience as clearing of massive snow piles expected to take weeks
City preaching patience as clearing of massive snow piles expected to take weeks – Jan 25, 2022

He agrees the conditions are putting people in dangerous situations.

Read more: Sidewalk snow impassable for Winnipeg family whose daughter uses wheelchair

“I have had reports from residents of kids needing to use the streets around a couple of the schools and that’s really a safety issue.”

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He’s reminding drivers, especially around schools,  to keep their eyes out for kids walking on the streets and to be patient until crews can get around to clear sidewalks.

A statement from the St. James Assiniboia School Division says, “In extreme weather conditions, parents and caregivers are advised to take every precaution to ensure students arrive at school safely.”

Coun. Gillingham noted the city is already looking at ways to improve snow clearing in the years to come, but notes the unprecedented and continual amount of snow this year has made clearing efforts difficult.

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