City Lane Clear Equipment Is Slow and Costly

A Kubota sweeper/plow, center left, clears the sidewalk at 300 South and 200 West, Salt Lake City. Image: SLC.

Street clearing methods for bike lanes are far less economical than those used for car lanes. The equipment and protocol is more akin to what large malls use to clear their parking lots. But this approach is far too slow and cumbersome to allow cities to keep up with heavy snowfall in urban areas.

What will aggravate the situation is when protected bike lanes (with raised curbing) are installed. This limits the width of the plow or sweeper than can do the job. In cities like Chicago where the aim is to provide 100 miles of PBLs it becomes nearly impossible to provide the kind of service that would be required to clear car lanes for use by emergency vehicles.

Services like Divvy are often left with snow piled around the bikes.