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Letter: Collective inaction creates dangerous sidewalks

Because I read that doing mental games kept one’s brain young, I invented the game “Walk Only On Shoveled Sidewalks” during my morning rambles around Morris. In December, the game was fairly fun. Because different people shoveled after different snow events, my route was always changing.

There were some funny moments. I laughed at the patch of ice in front of a lawyer’s office and a chiropractor’s clinic.

The more I walked the more mental puzzles presented themselves for thought:

Why do people shovel the sidewalk but not through to the street?

Why do houses that are for sale not have shoveled sidewalks?

Why do people carefully shovel from their front doors to the street but not in front of their homes?

Why do people shovel the sidewalk and then park their cars across it so no one can walk by?

Why are businesses allowed to just push the snow from the parking lot onto the sidewalk?

Why do houses and businesses on corners shovel only the sidewalk in the front but not along the side?

The game became dangerous and frightening after the January thaw when the all the “nuisance” snow that had never been cleared melted and froze covering the sidewalks with ice. The situation became even more dangerous when people didn’t shovel after the next snow event so that I couldn’t see the ice. In December, I had thought people could always catch up, but in January I knew that couldn’t happen. Through our collective inaction, we have essentially trapped our friends and family in their homes. We need to do better.

If I wanted to drive everywhere I wanted to go, I would live in Los Angeles.

For your friends and family, neighbors and strangers, please, after every snow, shovel your snow.

Mary Elizabeth Bezanson

Morris Marchers: Dedicated to Keeping Morris Walkable