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Discussion: How Has Your Neighborhood Handled Snow and Ice on Sidewalks?

Mayor Ed Kelley asked residents at Monday's council meeting to work together to help solve the icy sidewalk problem

As Mayor Ed Kelley said at , we live in Cleveland. Winters mean more snow and ice than close neighbors like Columbus. 

Although many believe this is a freakish, brutal winter, Alex Mannarino, the city's public works director, said Cleveland Heights averages 70 inches or more a year. So far this year, the skies have dumped more than 50 inches of snow on the city, and , closing schools in the area.

Temperatures have not warmed up enough to melt what the storms left behind, so sidewalks across the city are still encased in ice. 

And many have seen people walking in the streets instead of the sidewalks. On Cedar. On Monticello. On busy streets across Cleveland like East 55th. 

Residents approached  

One resident said students at walk to and from school in the busy main streets because they are clear, and she's concerned about their safety.

Another said that though people have received the fliers the city sends out to residents who don't comply with the ordinance to clear the sidewalks, people still have not shoveled. 

City Manager Robert Downey said the city has had people walk door to door with fliers to ask them to comply and sent thousands of e-mails. Residents, commercial districts and the city are responsible for the sidewalks they abut, he said. 

He said he'd work to get the sidewalks around Monticello cleared. 

But enforcing the ordinance is a manpower issue, as much of the city does not abide by the rule. And it's a manpower and a safety issue when it comes to trying to shovel thick ice and inches of heavy snow in frigid weather. 

"I challenge our youth groups and our youth in the community, our church groups, and our street associations to band together in the next six or seven weeks to figure out ways to attack the sidewalk problem. We're not going to solve all of the problems, but I think it would be a good opportunity for some of our youth to make  some money, and to help with this issue," Kelley said. "But I also want to challenge our schools private, public and parochial, our religious institutions and our commercial areas to also make sure their sidewalks are clear and manageable."

What are your ideas for tackling the icy, snowy sidewalk problem? Has your neighborhood come up with a solution to make sure the sidewalks stay clear? 

Lisa Rainsong February 12, 2011 at 01:13 PM
The other issues here is the independent slow plow operators that pile huge mounds of snow onto the sidewalks, blocking them for the rest of the season. Many contractors are ethical and do not do this. The ones that do, however, create horrible blockages on the sidewalks of not only the property owner but even sidewalks of their neighbors. The city has an ordinance against this, but it is not followed. Unless I catch the event as it happens and get a license number, I don't know what I can do.
Susan Miller February 12, 2011 at 01:14 PM
I agree with people who say, the ordinance is there - enforce it. Here's where I'd begin - with vacant homes where no one is home to shovel and with commercial properties. The business districts have options at the ready, the vacant properties can pay service companies more to shovel as well as plow and provide more work for Clevelanders. Then, if people who live here model the behavior and shovel, other will follow suit, particularly after they get their first ticket. The city only needs to issue a few tickets to get the snow off the sidewalks. In the meantime, its a source of revenue. Think of it this way Mr. Downey - the police don't ticket every speeder, and they don't manage to ticket everyone who rolls through a stop sign or accelerates before the end of a school zone. But that doesn't mean that traffic safety laws aren't enforceable. What we're asking for are pedestrian safety laws. As it is, the city tickets (primarily youth) for jaywalking in good weather and forces jaywalking in snowy weather. Think of it as a source of safety and revenue for the city (as enforcing traffic misdemeanors is). If someone at City Hall would run the numbers on ticketing vacant properties alone, it might make sense to begin there. Fine those absentee landlords - they're in the money and we need to be both in the work and in the money. Individuals and block clubs can come up with solutions for clearing the walks of the owner occupied residences.
Jennifer February 12, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Even on the streets with sidewalks that have been cleared, people still walk in the street. It's insane to expect that clearing the sidewalks is what will solve the problem. How about doing something about the people that walk in the street where sidewalks are clear! We religiously shovel our sidewalk, yet 90% of our neighbors don't. So, why bother? Why am I killing myself to shovel a sidewalk that NEVER gets walked on by anyone other than me when I'm shoveling it. VERY frustrating.
Michelle Simakis February 14, 2011 at 09:08 PM
Thank you all for your comments and input. I'd be interested to find out if there is a city that has had success in clearing or getting residents to clear sidewalks, and how it handled it. I have yet to live in one without the snowy sidewalk problem, and cities nearby seem to have the same issue.

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