Sunday, December 18, 2005

Someone is going to die

Growing up in central Wisconsin, I became accustomed to prompt and efficient snow removal. Our plow operators were top-notch – clearing the roads before morning rush hour, and before evening rush hour. People took it upon themselves to clear their driveways and sidewalks (well, there may have been a city-imposed fine hanging over their heads, I don’t remember quite that well).

Then I moved to Cleveland. Cleveland still gets snow and ice, just like any other city in the Midwest, but maybe even a little more so due to lake effects. For reasons that are beyond my comprehension, the city waits until maybe 8 pm before plowing the streets so as not to “interfere with rush hour.” I would think that 3-5 inches of snow would be more of a hindrance to rush hour than snow plows and salt trucks, so going out BEFORE rush hour seems like the better plan to me. But what to do I know, I’ve just always lived in places that get dumped on every winter. Add to that the fact that very few people shovel their driveways or sidewalks (there are a select few), and you can imagine a snowy, slushy city.

This creates quite a predicament for pedestrians. Because the roads do eventually get plowed, and the sidewalks do not, people choose to walk on the streets. And not on the side of the road, but just about anywhere they darn well please. Now, I understand that they’re mad at the folks who don’t shovel their sidewalks, and that they need to get where they’re going, but I don’t think I’d risk my life to get to Walmart. It’s no surprise that winter comes to Cleveland, and I see them wearing boots – they are equipped for walking in snow – why can’t they walk on the sidewalk? Or start a petition or something to get the city to enforce the shoveling of sidewalks? Something, anything, to keep them off the roads. The roads are dangerous enough as it is without throwing in the potential to cream some pedestrians as you slip and slide your way to work in the morning, or home in the evening.

Stupid Cleveland. If the science ever falls through, you can bet I’ll be applying for the “head of snow removal” job at city hall here in Cleveland. They need me.


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