Untouched Snow Reveals Street Usage
In a short compelling piece for his blog, Sneckdown Calgary, Matthew Worona illustrates how untouched snow can show where street space is going totally unused—the formation known as a sneckdown. Snow can serve as evidence of how much of the road next to the curb goes untouched and, to a lesser extent, how often people turn in each direction. "Looking more specifically at the turn lanes there is potential that these are justified even if the road is significantly under capacity. If there are a huge number of turns made maybe the slip lanes are necessary. While the tracks in the snow show little use of all but one of the slip lanes I went looking for numbers," Worona writes.
It's not the first time the argument's been made. But it's worth the seasonal reminder of how lane widths can influence speed and safety of streets. Looking at the unused space, it's easy to think what could be done with the additional curb space, whether it's more room for sidewalks, trees, cafés, or awnings, or reducing the amount of time it takes a pedestrian to cross the street. That's useful space that's being wasted on empty asphalt.