23 December 2008

Storm Response Forgets Pedestrians

Yesterday, WBZ posted an article and a poll asking whether there should be a law to require vans and SUVs to clear snow from their roofs before driving. This is a fantastic idea and 78% of respondents agree with me. It's not just rude, it's dangerous.

But as I walked to the T in Jamaica Plain the past few mornings, I started wondering if such a law would actually help. After all, there's already a law requiring home- and business-owners to properly shovel their sidewalks, yet every winter major neighborhood streets like Centre (north of the South/Center businesses), Boylston, Paul Gore and Green remain un-shoveled, becoming treacherous moonscapes and forcing pedestrians to walk in the street.

But it isn't just lazy folks (or those in a battle of wills with their landlords) that cause problems. Plows pile giant mounds of snow up onto curbs, blocking the normal flow. In years past, I've just considered this my grumbly fate in winter, but this year it strikes me as particularly backwards. After all, a record number fo commuters switched to using the MBTA this year and most of us require some amount of walking to get to the bus or T stop. It just seems completely outdated that snow removal is still so ver car-focused.