Reader Chelsea Chase responds to Suburban Crystal plans to take responsibility of clearing sidewalks:
While it's frustrating that this is being considered to go to city level, it's because people don't do it at all, or don't do a good enough job of it, and then everybody suffers.
Those with mobility issues can't get safely to a bus stop, get trapped at the curb because nobody clears the ramp, and snow from the plows and shovels just piles up right where it's most in the way.
Then there are those who can't shovel their own for physical reasons far and wide -- who, at best, would have to rely on getting someone else to do it, which more often than not means they're expected to pay -- so then you're looking at people paying disproportionately due to injury/physical ability.
But with the city doing it, they'd be held to a standard of work, so each sidewalk would be clear all down each block, including ramps. This then improves the experience of the community, who can now walk the sidewalk without as much fear of fall injury, refrain from shoveling -- at best kinda nice, at worst an activity that often triggers heart problems and causes great strain and injury to many each year -- have a safer and more efficient access to public transit.
For those crying about "lazy" people being the problem there are really only the 2 options in terms of getting this done:
- Everybody pitches in with labor and shovels their own walk. (Heaven forbid I even suggest helping a neighbor or *gasp* multiple neighbors.)
- Everybody pitches in with nominal money to ensure that the job is being done adequately by *somebody* somewhere.
The most organized way to do that is to have the city take care of it.
Why we can't be grateful that there's a goal to improve and maintain our city-owned amenity is beyond me.
If you're shoveling your sidewalks adequately each snowfall so far, you've all essentially been doing the work for them, subject to fines if you don't keep up. Now they're proposing they do their own work to maintain the property/amenity that they own, and instead of the usual pointing-the-finger at the good-for-nothing city who doesn't do enough, you're skipping over any sight of a solution and pointing wildly at those you judge and deem to be lazy. And now you're ticked that there's a different exchange (because you've forgotten that the cost thus far has been labor).
Let's just say your neighbors are the horrible, lazy lugabouts so inferior to you, the honest, compassionate, team-playing, rule-following, model citizen. Let's just assume the worst in people.
Well now it doesn't matter that they're so inferior... because the city has volunteered to make it an all-inclusive amenity to eliminate the negative effects of those nasty, rotten inferiors on the community's shared property. You can rest at ease knowing you did your part, as was asked of you, until another solution was found.
BONUS! That's one less way those monstrous, loathsome, othered inferiors have to impact you and your life. You may not have to think about or interact with them ever again unless you actually make an effort to engage, but like that would ever happen.
People want the city to put in sidewalks and then gripe about having to maintain them, or about how, or whether, their neighbor maintains them. And then they gripe when maintenance is proposed to be taken care of for them.