[Summit] Icy sidewalks

John Bazik jbazik at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 22:33:44 CDT 2015

As a frequent pedestrian, and particularly this winter, when snow has encroached on both roadways and walkways, I’ve thought a lot about this.  Imagine what our roads would look like if similar rules applied.  If each homeowner was responsible for clearing the roadway in front of their house, we’d all be housebound for the duration.  Yet incredibly, that’s how pedestrian ways are supposed to be cleared.  It’s a system that requires 100% participation.  If even one person on your block fails to clear their walk, you are forced to venture into the street - which has been reduced to a single car width.  Yet most people just take to the street anyway, because the street has been cleared in order to make it passible.  Sidewalks are cleared in the same way that school children do homework - it’s required, but it’s not always completed and it’s not always done right (sidewalks “cleared” with no connection to adjoining streets or properties).

As some snow blowing Samaritans have understood, it makes sense to clear a continuous length of sidewalk, irrespective of property lines.  It makes sense both for those clearing the snow and for those venturing into it.  So I wonder if it wouldn’t make sense for neighbors, blocks, even whole neighborhoods to pool resources and hire a contractor to clear sidewalks, at a “bulk” rate.  No driveways, no walks, no steps - just sidewalks.  I expect it would be possible to get an attractive bid that, divided among those willing to participate, would be a net savings.  There would be some free riders, of course, but at least their walks would be clear.

With about 150ft of sidewalk myself (I’m on a corner), and just a shovel, I’d happily participate.


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