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Adventures in two feet of snow - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Adventures in two feet of snow
Two words to my much-beloved hometown: Sidewalk plows.

Seriously, guys. You tout yourself as America's walking city, and you know how many people take public transit or just walk to work altogether. It's not a brilliant idea to entrust sidewalk shoveling to homeowners who may be old or sick (and waiting for the kid next door to get home from school to hire her to shovel), oversleeping, or vacationing in the Caribbean.

Grrr. Sorry, just had to get to work this morning, and making my way to the bus stop along a street where maybe five houses had their front sidewalks shoveled was nervewracking, as I had to walk in the street. One of my favorite high school teachers died that way--walking along the side of a street whose sidewalks hadn't been shoveled, she had nowhere to retreat when a truck came, and the side rearview window crushed her skull. So all the way to the bus stop, I'm just thinking about poor Miss Mazur. I was not in a good place by the time I actually got safely onto the bus.
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liwy From: liwy Date: January 24th, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Two words to my much-beloved hometown: Sidewalk plows.

Same here. My town is a good place for walking and biking in good weather (provided you're not trying to navigate the mall area, which can give you a headache), but the lack of shoveling or plowing on sidewalks on the main routes is a pain.
rabidsamfan From: rabidsamfan Date: January 24th, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man. When I walk in the street (and you have to, quite often) I walk right smack dab in the middle, where they have to see me and stop while I get to a safe place to let them past. I get sworn at very seldom, surprisingly.

I have today off because I worked Saturday, but I take it that even though the Mayor said essential workers only the library has decided it's essential again?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 24th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
We're an unoffical homeless shelter, you know. Can't close the library. Besides, someone might need a copy of Addicted.

rabidsamfan From: rabidsamfan Date: January 24th, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, and all those children who aren't in school need a place to go, too.

I'm so glad I worked on Saturday. I got up this morning, went out to make sure the sidewalk was still clear after all the wind yesterday, and then came inside and did a very shivery happy dance all the way back to bed.
mincot From: mincot Date: January 24th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have to say I always blessed the people who did NOT shovel their walks. The ones who did left a thin film of water/snow, which promptly melted and re-froze. I would walk on the grass so I wouldn't slip and slide all over their walkways. It was always such a relief to get to a show-covered sidewalk where I actually had some traction!!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 24th, 2005 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
We have more than two feet of it. It's not possible to walk through.
From: magnolia_mama Date: January 24th, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Isn't there a law in Boston mandating timely removal of sidewalk snow? There was one in the city where I used to live that required homeowners and landlords to clear sidewalks by 9 am or show good reason why they couldn't. I remember having actually seen the law enforced on occasion. Granted, there were only about 95,000 residents, so it wasn't too difficult to enforce, even if sporadically.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 24th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think there is such a law, but if it's enforced in my neighborhood, my neighbors must have a special fund set aside to pay the fines. And of course, the last section of sidewalk to be cleared is generally the city-owned part by the park. Part of the problem is that it's a big rental city, and while some landlords live in the houses they rent, others don't, and so the property owner may not be anywhere in the vicinity even if he or she isn't getting away from it all on some tropical island.

Basically, it's just not something you can count on a law to get done, any more than you could count on people going out to shovel the street for the cars. There are a million excuses. And even a 9am law doesn't help when you have to be at work at nine, since getting to work is in the hours before.
sreya From: sreya Date: January 24th, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't have a problem with sidewalks, since I drive, but I DID just spend an hour digging out my car. My apartment building doesn't have a parking lot, so that means street parking, so that means not only digging away the snow that fell straight down around and on my car, but also clearing the icy chunks shoved against it by the snow plow. H-E-A-V-Y. Ouch.

And I had to ask the super for a shovel because I didn't think to buy one while I was out on Friday. *facepalm*

Be careful walking around out there.
melyanna From: melyanna Date: January 24th, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh, I can sympathize. We only got ten inches in Chicago, and it's still a mess. You can walk through it, but not easily, especially as there are some serious drifts in really random places. Strangely, people here seem to be under the impression that if you own a corner lot, you don't have to clear any of your sidewalk. Grr.
From: arclevel Date: January 25th, 2005 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
We've got about a foot here, so it's not *quite* so bad. I did take the public bus to the grocery store today for the first time so I could avoid uncovering my car. Unfortunately, I had to get off it down the road, and just walked to work (normally fine, but I'm sick) because the bus stop across the street has no sidewalk at all near it, no real shoulder, and no one had made any attempt at clearing a spot to stand there. Otherwise, I was reasonably impressed with the sidewalk clearing, though there were patches where I got to trudge through four inches of slush.

This is why I liked living in the Upper Peninsula. Most of the time, sidewalks were promptly plowed nearly everywhere. What was left got packed down solidly and repeatedly covered with sand for extra traction; this was actually easier to walk on than a completely cleared sidewalk because it didn't have problems with melting and refreezing. (It was rather funny to hit a spot where it was suddenly plowed to the street and you realized you were three inches up from it.) The main problem was that the sand left over in the spring made things more slippery, especially on hills.
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