Municipalities need to clear snowy walks
Hooray for Cynthia Van Ness’ call on Buffalo to clear snow from sidewalks (Feb. 5 My View). Sidewalks are an infrastructure resource with 12-month users, and sidewalk snow removal should be a core municipal service. It is unrealistic to expect homeowners and businesses to have sidewalks clear of snow by 6:30 in the morning when school children and other pedestrians begin heading out. One hundred percent owner shoveling compliance is unobtainable, and anything less is unacceptable, as any pedestrian knows who has been forced to choose between walking in the street or postholing through knee-deep snow.
Enforcement is cumbersome, time-consuming and ineffective. There would be outrage and demands for service if streets were left unplowed, and yet the safety and needs of those whose mode of transportation is by foot are ignored. Homeowners and business owners should help by keeping sidewalks clear between snow events, but it is the municipalities that have the means to open up all sidewalks to traffic after a snowfall.
Buffalo’s Green Code calls for walkable, transit-friendly streets. Should it include the phrase, “weather permitting”? I do not mean to cast a snowball only at Buffalo; all municipalities with sidewalks need to make sidewalk snow removal a priority.