Wanted: Snow Moles in Old Ottawa East

By Dianne Breton & Peggy Edwards, The Council on Aging of Ottawa

January 30th, 2017

Snow Moles are volunteers who report on what it's like to walk outside on a winter day, by completing a one-page questionnaire and returning it to a community contact. The Snow Mole initiative is led by the Council on Aging of Ottawa's Age-Friendly program.

Our goal is to audit and make recommendations that will make winter walking safe and enjoyable for older people and other vulnerable pedestrians (including people using mobility devices and young children).

You can help report on winter walking in Old Ottawa East. It is quick and easy. You fill out the one-page Snow Mole checklist when you walk to your chosen destination in your neighbourhood on one day in winter. The walk can be short or long.

Snow moles should be age 60 and over. Even better if you go with a grandchild or a neighbour with small children. Snow moles need to be age 60 or over because this is part of our Age-Friendly walk auditing program, that is, making streets safer for seniors (and other vulnerable pedestrians). As such, we also welcome reports from other vulnerable pedestrians such as people with ability aids and parents with young children. We want to hear from seniors—their experience and perspective often is quite different from young and middle-aged walkers.

Please drop off completed responses to the Old Town Hall, 61 Main Street, by March 15.

You are invited to be a SNOW MOLE and complete a Winter Pedestrian Safety Audit.

SNOW MOLES are volunteers who report on what it is like to walk outside on a winter day in Ottawa.

Instructions to SNOW MOLES

1. Pick a time of day when you need to go out a day or two after winter weather (e.g. heavy snow, freezing rain)

2. Pick a destination: e.g. school, grocery store, bank, drug store, medical appointment

3. Answer the questions below and use the Snow Mole Checklist to audit your walk.

4. Return the completed audit form to your community contact. THANK YOU!

Age-Friendly Ottawa SNOW MOLES: Questions about you and your winter walk

Date (day/month/year): _____________ Time of day: _____a.m.; _____p.m._____

Describe winter conditions (i.e. snow, freezing rain, slushy) ___________________

City/ Neighbourhood of walk audit: _____________________________________________

Names of main streets on route: _________________________________________

Approximate distance: ___less than 1 km., ____ 1 km., ____1.5 km, _____more than 1.5 km.

About you: Age___; Female ___ Male ___

I have a mobility aid: ☐ Yes ☐ No

I walk this route for (check all that apply):

☐ Transportation: to reach a specific location

☐ Recreation: for enjoyment and/or physical activity

☐ To question safety and accessibility of this route.

Snow Mole Checklist

Please circle or highlight your answers.

1. Have the sidewalks and streets in front of your house, residence or school been:

Plowed? Yes No Not applicable

Sanded? Yes No Not applicable

Salted? Yes No Not applicable

2. Are the sidewalks on your route well sanded or salted?

Yes No Not applicable

3. Does snow thrown onto the sidewalk from snow plows or people’s snow blowers interfere with walking?

Yes No

4. If there are paths or walkways on or near your route are they well plowed?

Yes No Not applicable

5. Are the snow banks shorter than your waist?

Yes No

6. Can you walk (or use a mobility device) to safely get to your destination or to the nearest bus stop?

Yes No

7. Is the closest bus stop area clear of snow/ice?

Yes No Not applicable

8. Is the bus stop area fully accessible?

Yes No Not applicable

9 Is any seating on this stretch of road kept clear of ice and snow?

Yes No Not applicable

10. Are you able to get to your destination and back home safely?

Yes No

11. Do you have any other safety concerns?


Please report any hazards or problems needing immediate attention to the City of Ottawa’s phone line 311.

Thank you for completing and returning this Winter Pedestrian Safety audit to: Old Town Hall Community Center, 61 Main Street.

This checklist was put together by the Council on Aging of Ottawa Age-Friendly Pedestrian Safety Committee and by Elizabeth Kristjansson and her team at the University of Ottawa.

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