Should the City of Rochester Shovel Your Sidewalks For You?
Living here in Minnesota, clearing the snow off your sidewalks is just one of those things we all have do, right? But should the city do it FOR you?
Seeing that we all live here in the Land of 10,000 Snow-Covered Lakes, we're used to getting snow during the winter. (Okay, and spring too, right?!?) And with that snow comes the chore of having to grab the shovels or fire up the snowblower to get things cleared off on your driveway and sidewalks.
Much like mowing the lawn in the spring and summer, if you're a homeowner, it's just something we all have to do. But should the city of Rochester clear your sidewalks FOR you, like they do the streets in front of your house?
According to this CityLab story, there are a growing number of municipalities across the U.S. that are taking on the chore of keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice FOR their residents. It said that in Syracuse, New York, the city is trying a pilot program where the a private contractor (paid by the city) steps in and clears sidewalks on what it calls 'priority walkways' when there are 3 or more inches of snow.
And, closer to home, here in Minnesota, some cities are doing even more. Up in the Duluth, the city clears "100 miles of priority sidewalk routes, including routes to schools, high-pedestrian traffic locations, and public-transit locations. Bloomington, Minnesota clears all of its 250 miles of sidewalks," the CityLab story noted.
Would something like this work here in Rochester? It's an interesting concept, but I'm guessing city officials would likely point out that it would cost quite a bit to implement in the Med City. But here's an idea: Maybe it's something our city council members and mayor-- who just voted themselves that BIG raise earlier this year-- could do, right? I mean, why not? Each council member could be responsible for clearing the sidewalks in their ward! It's brilliant, isn't it?!? So, come on, Rochester city council, grab a shovel and get going! It's not going to shovel itself, is it?!? ;)