And it would also increase the chances the city would face legal action if, for example, the banks weren't cleared and there was an accident, the report said.
“Such a policy change would transfer liability to the city and result in a higher probability of claims for vehicle and pedestrian collisions,” it says. “Should the city change the responsibility for snow removal policy to transfer responsibility of snow bank height from the property owner to the city, there would be a substantial increase in the city's liability.”
The report was prepared at the request of city council, and in response to numerous calls from the public who want crews to reduce the height of snowbanks in their neighbourhood. While the public works department receives plenty of calls about snowbanks, they make up only 10 per cent of the 17,317 calls they have received since 2008 about snow removal.
As it stands now, snowbank removal is done “to address parking in the downtown core, to access bus stops, to improve sight lines at intersections and to ensure adequate roadway lane widths.”
Adding to that service to remove more snowbanks, to keep roadways wider or to improve the number of parking spaces open downtown would not be cheap, the report concludes.
“Preliminary estimates suggest that these additional removal activities could result in annual budget enhancements ranging from $650,000 to (more than) $4,000,000.”
Improving Brady Street crosswalk
Improved signage, road painting and adding barriers to discourage jaywalking are all being recommended to improve safety of the Brady Street crosswalk just outside of Tom Davies Square.
Members of the operations committee will deal with the report this afternoon.
While more than 250 people use the crossing from 4-5 p.m. each day, and it's busy in the morning peak period, the report says there is dramatically less usage during the rest of the day. And with crossings at Minto and Paris streets nearby, the crossing doesn't qualify for traffic signals, the report says.
However, there are plans to include new signage reminding pedestrians to yield to traffic, more visible, zebra-style painting along the road and planters or even a fence along the street to funnel pedestrians to one of the legal crossings to reduce jaywalking.
The committee will also look at three options for adding traffic signals, ranging in cost from $100,000-$200,000. The report also lists the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Vending machine revenue increases
The city expects to collect about $144,610 in revenue from vending machines in city facilities in 2014, a report going to today's meeting of the community services committee will hear.
The city awarded the vending machine contract to three vendors in August, for five years, covering cold drinks, bulk candy, hot drinks, snacks, cold food and change machines. It expects the 2014 revenues will increase by 12-15 per cent compared to 2012.
The biggest source of revenue is from the Sudbury Transit terminal downtown, where the city expects to collect about $76,000 in revenue next year. Next on the list is Pioneer Manor ($12,000) followed by the Lionel E. Lalonde Centre ($10,000) and Tom Davies Square ($5,000).