Sidewalks of shame


As a pedestrian walking to the University of Minnesota campus, for about 11 5 months a year I have the opportunity to grumble about people not shoveling their sidewalks. I always had in mind naming and shaming those who did not. After last weekend's monster snowstorm, I again had reason to complain, but the suspects changed. Normally there are selected houses which are unoccupied or rented that are unshoveled after a snowstorm. This week those were pretty good, either neighbors took it upon themselves, or the tenants saw the need.

What was problematic was:

  • The City of Minneapolis and/or Hennepin County, who again did not shovel around my favorite five-way intersection (East River Road/Franklin/27th), until bringing out the Bobcats on Friday, almost a full week after the snowfall started. This after makings all sorts of noises about caring about pedestrians, especially in discussions about reconfiguring the intersection. Bah, they only care about moving cars.
  • The Minneapolis Parks Department, which was extremely slow to clear pedestrian paths along East River Road.
  • The Good Samaritans (a Lutheran charity that has no relation to the real Samaritans), who made sure to shovel their parking lots, but not the sidewalks in front of their parking lots for many days later.
  • A few houses near the U on East River Road, which following the behavior of the Parks Dept. failed to clear adjacent sidewalks
  • I need to also complain about the snow plows that created giant mountains of snow where the sidewalk meets the road, undoing much hard fought shoveling. Fortunately the bobcats came by a few days later. Is it too much to ask for these to be simultaneous?

I recognize public agencies might have been a bit over-whelmed. On the other hand, I didn't see an offer of $10/hour for labor to help clear public sidewalks, only to help clear football stadiums.

That said, praise be to those who did, I was out of town through Sunday, so thanks to my neighbors for clearing our public facing sidewalk by Sunday evening when I got back.


Minneapolis always messes up the bus stops dowtown and relies on metro transit to clean them up from what I remember. Usually 2-5 days of climbing over huge snowbanks until someone gets a bobcat out and clears them. Sigh.

People should have the sense of responsibility in clearing the sidewalks. If everyone acts then no problem will be encounter. If they don't want clear the snow then they should have live on the desert.

And what about those folks who do shovel (or blow) their sidewalks...putting the snow into the street? Makes moving through the streets a lot tougher.

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on December 18, 2010 10:33 AM.

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