October 25, 2021

Thanks for snow clearing

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

John Bardsley was up early in the midst of the 2016-17 season’s first big storm clearing his William Street sidewalk.

This story appeared in the December 15, 2017 edition of the Cortland Standard. To become a subscriber, email us, or call us at (607) 756-5665. Back issues available by request.

This is a shout out to the shovel and snow blower brigade. You stalwarts who make our communities more walkable — we salute you!

Let’s face it, snow removal harkens back to Greek mythology and Sisyphus who rolled the stone up the mountain only to start all over again when the stone rolled down the other side.

Similarly, getting rid of the snow, only to have it snow again, or have the snowplow throw the white stuff back on your newly cleared walk, can be frustrating.

But here’s the deal: Easily passable sidewalks have a significant community health benefit. People are more apt to walk to their destinations if they can get safely from Point A to Point B.

This helps to combat feelings of loneliness from being cooped up during the winter months. It benefits our economy when citizens feel they can venture outside to walk downtown for a lunch with friends, shop, walk to the post office, or buy groceries.

Let’s not forget those of us who have to be, or want to be, on the sidewalk year round. Delivery people, salespersons, those who must walk to school or work, persons with disabilities, business patrons, runners and walkers all appreciate it when they don’t have to risk losing their balance, jumping mounded snow, or more importantly, having to walk in the road. How about those who need to walk the dog?

It’s not easy for all property owners to clear their sidewalks. Someone might be sick or physically unable to do this work. Maybe you can help a neighbor by doing a little extra. Please think about shoveling around a fire hydrant, walk signal pole, or mailbox.

And to those property owners who consistently refuse to clear your sidewalks, shame on you! Can you imagine the community uproar if our highway crews didn’t plow our streets?

Sidewalks are a vital part of our transportation network too. Most communities have sidewalk maintenance laws on the books. Call your local code enforcement office to report persistent offenders.

In the meantime, let’s all enjoy our winter wonderland.

Ann Hotchkin is the mobility management coordinator at Seven Valleys Health Coalition.