Across North America, communities are dedicating more space and priority to multimodal transportation infrastructure. Those in northern, snowy climates, have a unique challenge to tackle: “How should we maintain sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails in the winter?”
A considerable number of people walk and bike all winter long, whether they are going to work or school, accessing services, shopping, exercising, attending church, or participating in any number of other everyday activities. Research has shown that more people would do the same if infrastructure were appropriately maintained. Well-maintained walkways and bikeways also strengthen community confidence in the multimodal network and provide more equal access to the transportation system.
Creating a comfortable environment for walking and bicycling year-round is a unique practice area that requires legal, technical, and design considerations to operate successfully. But with thoughtful planning, clear policies, agency coordination, and appropriate staffing and equipment, it’s certainly possible to perform the maintenance needed to keep people walking and bicycling through the winter months.
This new resource guide to provides answers to ten common questions about winter maintenance, such as:
- Who is responsible for winter maintenance, and why is it so challenging?
- What are the best ways to remove snow and ice from bikeways and walkways?
- What type of equipment is needed?