We lucked out with the last snowstorm. The snow didn’t stick around too long.
The warm temperatures and rain made quick work of clearing snow-covered sidewalks, but for that period in between, a lot of sidewalks went uncleared and some were downright dangerous strips of ice. Those areas that went uncleared forced pedestrians into the roadway and into harm’s way as they navigated around the area.
No one wants to see a homeowner fined for an uncleared sidewalk if they lack the means to do it, yet it can easily be argued that the potential danger created by these conditions warrants a penalty. Businesses should also make it a priority, regardless of whether patrons use that sidewalk. It can be challenging enough for younger folks to navigate snow and ice-covered walkways, but for the elderly and those with disabilities it can quickly become a threatening situation.
Sidewalks exist to create safe passage for pedestrians. In most cases it is the responsibility of the property owner to clear that piece of real estate. Heading into winter without a plan to get that done after a snowstorm is shortsighted, irresponsible and dangerous, not only for pedestrians but for drivers.
Local social service agencies such as the Jonnycake Center, Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, Stonington Social Services and the WARM Center likely know of people in need of work, and the organization Serve Rhode Island maintains a database of volunteers for a multitude of tasks. After this last storm, Serve Rhode Island was credited with getting 35 volunteers to help clear snow for 66 elderly and disabled residents across the state. Yes, those are paltry numbers, but they can grow. Anyone who needs help for the next storm should call United Way 2-1-1 for assistance.