Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter in the City 2011----a shameful sight

When I first moved downtown in 1979, just weeks before my 16th birthday, we'd experienced a pattern of winter weather somewhat similar to what we've had this season so far. The snowbanks that line our streets today are about the same size or bigger than they were 32 years ago. Another common thread in this case is the lack of action taken by the Public Works departments in the cities of our region.

Those same snowbanks are making traffic more of a hazard than usual, and so far, as of this writing, it is left up to each business or homeowner to arrange for snow removal to clear space. One prominent store chain hired a dumptruck to clear their parking lot about a week ago. Too bad they didn't consider the sidewalks around the store's outer perimeter. The DPW crews are nowhere to be found, as if they don't think they have the responsibility. Guess what, guys? You do.

Equally appalling is the lack of rock salt on the sidewalks to melt down the ice. Sure, the forecast calls for warmer temperatures this week, but then you have the threat of flooding. A threat that could've been avoided if the DPW crews were able to clear the snowbanks in a proper, orderly manner. This is not just confined to my hometown, either, by the way. It's the same where I work and attend church (2 other cities). The sidewalks become narrower and more dangerous. In Watervliet, for example, I get off the bus at the Elks Club in order to get to church, but the street corner is covered with a snowbank almost as tall as myself. You have to get about halfway down the block before getting onto the sidewalk, navigating a minefield of ice patches as you go. It's not fun. One misstep, and you fall flat on your face or on your backside.

The only thing I'm asking for here, pilgrims, is a little cooperation from the DPW's to clear the streets before there's a threat of flooding. The DPW's, rightfully, should be working in collaboration with homeowners and businesses to clear the snow, and I'm not sure if that's the case at all. We don't want to risk any and unnecessary lawsuits now, don't we?

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