Down with the slush puddles

It's been a weird week. My former host cities in the northeast are seeing record snowfall and all I have here in the midwest in a bunch of slush. We tend to this of snow mounds, slush puddles and ice and necessary evils, but they don't have to be. It's only because we live in a society where cars come first and everyone else is an afterthought if even a thought at all. Notice how the street is completely clear but puddle and uncleared slippery sidewalk makes pedestrian facilities unavailable.


Slush (and rain) puddles can be essentially eliminated by raising the street up to the sidewalk level instead of ramping the curb down to the motor vehicle area. The rest of the hazards can be eliminated by expanding public snow clearing responsibilities to include public walkways. The current arrangement wherein we expect property owners to maintain abutting walkways causes snow to be dealt with in a haphazard fashion, unevenly and unpredictably, with some places being clear and others becoming a skating rink. I love to play hockey, just not on my way to the bus. Rarely do you see an entire street block cleared. It would be so much more efficient and effective if the city just drove a narrow snow plow down the sidewalk, for a miniscule fraction of the current auto-only snow clearing budget. Such a system would also motivate us to spend a summer fixing all the broken sidewalks so we could easily plow them.

Again, we send a very clear message by plowing the way for cars preemptively or within hours yet leaving everyone else to risk injury on hazardous walkways.