At least one familiar sign of spring is coming back this week. Montreal is set to begin its street cleaning and pothole filling operations on April 14. But it could take a while for the debris and damage of winter to fully disappear.

Street cleaning will take in two phases, according to a statement from the city.

Crews will first focus on "major arteries, such as rue Sherbrooke Street, boulevard René-Lévesque, and [ave.] Papineau, as well as sidewalks and bike paths."

A "second phase" will cover through streets where the parking schedule has been postponed to May 1.

Pothole filling will also "be carried out gradually." 

These operations are planned according to annual road work schedules and will take place both "day and night, in order to limit traffic obstructions."

Weather will ultimately determine when pothole work can be done.

"Citizens are invited to contact 311 or use the Montréal Service aux citoyens application to report potholes and help the city carry out its operations," the statement concludes.

The arrival of street and bike path cleaning comes just in time. BIXI is set to relaunch on April 15 with more frequent cleanings and some new recommendations for users.

The bike-sharing service "plays an important role in transportation services, and represents a key service in our current context," its website reads.

"Because BIXI does not involve close contact between users or exposure to other people in a closed environment, using the service helps avoid transmission factors, namely droplets (such as saliva) and direct contact." 

Riders are encouraged to wipe handles and terminals before using them and to favour the BIXI app and key when possible.

Steet and sidewalk cleaning will finally rid the streets of leftover gravel and Tim Hortons cups once lodged in snowbanks, making at the very least for more pleasant daily solo neighbourhood walks for residents.

The last vestiges of winter will be slowly swept away.

It's a small but welcome comfort.

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