Put Down That Shovel: Minnesota Cities Could Clear Your Snow
Living here in Minnesota, clearing the snow off your sidewalks is just one of those things we all have to do, right? But should the city do it FOR you?
If you've lived in the Land of 10,000 Snow-Covered Lakes for any length of time, you know we're used to getting snow during the winter. (And spring sometimes too, am I 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 you live in 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.
The story explained that in Syracuse, New York, the city is trying a pilot program where 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 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.
And, Minneapolis is also currently studying whether it would be feasible for the city to take over clearing the sidewalks in residential neighborhoods throughout Minnesota's biggest city.
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 here in Minnesota's Med City. And, as the picture above picture shows, even now, it sometimes takes the city a while to clear the snow from the sidewalks in front of its parks.
But here's an idea: Maybe it's something our city council members and mayor-- who voted themselves that BIG raise a few years ago-- 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?!? Come on, City Council, grab a shovel and get going! All that snow is not going to shovel itself, is it?!? ;)
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