December 24, 2007

Winter walking perils

Once again, most suburban communities are treating walking as some kind of seasonal hobby, instead of as critically important transportation method as the automobile. While roadways are cleared on the taxpayers' dime as soon as possible after a snowstorm, many sidewalks are left impassible for weeks. WHY IS THAT? Why is clearing routes for motor vehicles considered the government's business, but clearing routes for pedestrians nobody's business?

Here in Framingham, the town does clear some sidewalks on routes where kids are likely to walk to school. As for the rest of us, tough luck. The town does not clear all sidewalks, and the town has no ordinance requiring anyone else to. Therefore, they can simply stay snow-covered all winter. Need to walk to work? Too bad, get a car. Need to walk to get someplace else? Too bad, get a car. Can't or don't drive? Tough luck.

Need to walk your dog? Too bad, let your pets go on your front lawn. Need to walk from your office to get lunch, or to another building? Too bad, drive instead. It's gotten so bad that my company's official policy is to advise us to drive to a building that's a 2-minute walk away.

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