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Keep Schenectady walkable in winter, too

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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While a good number of Schenectady pedestrians might just as soon walk in the street as on sidewalks, it’s hard to believe that all of them are so foolish or disrespectful of the law. But when the sidewalks are covered with ice and snow, as they were after last weekend’s storm, people who want to get around by foot have no choice but to take their lives in their hands and hit the streets.

Part of the problem, as a story in yesterday’s Gazette outlined, is vacant property owned by the city, taken through recent foreclosures. In the story, Mayor Gary McCarthy indicated that city workers who were busy cleaning out clogged intersections on Monday would start shoveling out those sidewalks yesterday. That’s good news as far as it goes, but McCarthy needs to go further. So do other cities in the region where property owners don’t fulfill their obligation to keep sidewalks clear.

Snow in this region is common enough in winter — every winter — that there can be no excuses for taking the Erastus Corning approach to snow and ice: waiting for warm weather. Whether it’s a few inches or a foot, municipalities have to make clear to their residents right from the first snowfall that if they don’t do the job, the city will do it for them (and bill them).

That’s the real “common sense” approach when dealing with a safety issue like this — not the hands off advocated by McCarthy until residents adjust to the realities of snow removal.

Giving scofflaws a break in this fashion when the mandatory recycling law took effect decades ago is how the city wound up with a dismally low recycling rate — and tipping fees hundreds of thousands of dollars higher every year than they otherwise would be. Lax enforcement encourages noncompliance.

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December 18, 2013
8:02 a.m.
+0 votes
BROBERTS1 says...

People walk in the street in the middle of summer. Are you going to blame the city for that too. I'm sure when someone gets hit by a car they will blame everyone and want to sue the city. Don't blame the police for lax of enforcement, if they started handing out tickets for walking in the streets you will complain about that.

December 19, 2013
7:29 a.m.
+0 votes
gina99 says...

Another idiotic revenue generation plan. Can't sell your property because of the taxes but make sure to shovel. Perhaps City Hall could for once lead by example? Maybe under the next administration.

December 19, 2013
3:23 p.m.
+0 votes
ThePhilistine says...

Start with making the roads drivable

December 19, 2013
5:08 p.m.
+0 votes
hodgkins.t says...

businesses suffer when sidewalks are not walkable. sidewalk clearance compliance in commercial districts is lacking and needs better enforcement.


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