SNOW CHAOS

After a major dump of snow on the weekend, the residents of Vancouver enjoyed a brief respite from the white stuff as no snow fell during Sunday night and into Monday morning. This allowed most people to get to work and school today. This was exactly where the snow wanted all of us.

After relatively clear skies for most of the day, it began to snow at close to the most ideal time to cause the maximum amount of chaos for the commute home. Around 4pm, the small flakes of snow started to fall. While tiny, there were lots of these flakes, densely packed as they fell. There was so much of the stuff visibility went from kilometers to barely across the street. At this point, people at work started to get nervous and made preparations to leave early.

Just before 5pm, the small flakes then became large, wet ones. The kind of snow that sticks when it lands. It was coming down hard and fast. That’s when a lot of people started to leave, myself included. I gathered up my crap and made my way outside.

I knew I waited too long to leave when I got outside and saw there was a lineup of cars just to get out of the parking garage. The main road outside the studio was packed with bumper to bumper traffic. That meant that traffic was probably pretty bad on all the major roads. I decided to make my way down the hill towards my usual bus stop. As I did, I saw one bus that was trying to navigate up the hill. It was stuck and couldn’t move. Further down the hill was another bus, also stuck.

When I got to the bus stop, there a lot more people there than usual. That meant either the buses were coming fast enough or if they were, they were all full and couldn’t pick up any more people. I saw one bus come but it didn’t even bother to stop, it was packed full of people. Based on my experience with the first major snowstorm in December, I knew it would be better if I walked instead of waiting for a bus.

The nearest train station is actually in the opposite direction of where my bus goes. I don’t go to that station normally because the train loops around and it takes longer for me to get home. In this situation though, it was the quickest and easiest way (fewer hills) to get on a train.

The walk is approximately 3km and for most of that, I was passing cars that were stuck in traffic. Even in the cold and snowy conditions, there’s a certain satisfaction in making continual progress towards your goal. About half an hour of walking, I made it to the station and caught the first train that arrived. It was quite full but not too bad. Once on the train, I was dry and warm which was pretty good all things considered. From high on up on the tracks, I saw that traffic was a mess everywhere. There was so much snow in some areas that it was quite amazing.

It took me about 80 minutes to get home, just about double my normal commute time. I was one of the lucky ones as I would later find out. Apparently the traffic outside the studio got so bad people were waiting up to almost an hour in their cars to just get outside the parkade. Another friend of mine has a normal driving commute home that takes about 40 minutes. It took him three hours this evening to get home.

The weather forecast calls for a few more flurries overnight which might make it a snow day tomorrow for some people. I’m going to have to play it by ear tomorrow morning but I won’t hesitate to work from home if it’s chaos out there again.

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