Before I turned myself into a runner, I was a college student just fickle enough to give myself an out and elect not to go to class if it meant I had to walk through too much snow.
So I had to laugh, more out of disbelief than anything, when I got west of Normal Drive during a run Sunday, only to find a quarter-mile stretch of sidewalk on the north side of West Lincoln Highway that clearly hadn’t seen a shovel blade in the past week.
I was cool with residential sidewalks southwest of there remaining snowed over. But there’s a couple of sort-of-popular spots for students along that stretch. Maybe you’ve heard of them: McDonald’s, Chipotle and Starbucks are among them.
The sidewalks along West Lincoln Highway, one of the city’s main economic arteries, on the whole were mostly snow-covered Sunday morning, and were seemingly still precarious Monday morning.
I didn’t get to see firsthand the state of Annie Glidden Road, but I gather that was a cold mess, too.
So who’s fault is it that sidewalks are impassable? There’s a lot of shrugging going on, it seems.
I know we received a lot of snow, and fast, and I know it then got colder than cold. I know many residents aren’t physically capable of clearing their own sidewalks, which is a bummer, but I can accept that.
But businesses a stone’s throw from campus and from bus stops, and in the vicinity of the Annie Glidden North Neighborhood the city has pledged to revitalize? If the city hadn’t communicated to you the snow-removal arrangement, you might have wanted to give someone a shovel.
Because if you’re reading this, you probably read our repeated warnings about the weather.
Better yet, you could have hired a local contractor to clear the sidewalks.
If it is, in fact, the business’ burden, they need to be cited, as the ordinance states.
But if you were banking on the city to do it, as Public Works Director Tim Holdeman suggests could be the case (because plows dump a lot of street snow onto those walks), then why hasn’t the city figured out how to pick up the easy-to-foresee slack and prevent a public safety risk?
Because that’s exactly what we’ve had – people walking in the road, in some of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, to get to work, to get to services, to live productive lives.
Crippling a vital part of town, well-tread by students and people who hope to better themselves, all because of either laziness or lack of communication, is not a good look.
• Christopher Heimerman is the editor at the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.