The importance of shoveling your sidewalks

(Photo provided by Kaitlyn Hession/Cortland Voice).

As the recent snowstorm turned the City of Cortland into a winter wonderland, many residents and business owners must face the chore of shoveling their cars out of a pile of snow or clearing the stairs to their house or apartment.

While doing this, some don’t think about shoveling the sidewalks that are in front of their residence, as they may think most people wouldn’t use them during this time of year. They would be wrong if they thought this as there’s still people who use these sidewalks to get to their destinations and if these sidewalks aren’t cleared, they may have a tough journey ahead for their commute.

This issue was brought up at the Cortland Common Council meeting on December 3rd, 2019 by Ward 4 Alderman John Bennett Jr., as members of the ward raised concerns about the dangers walkers may face if sidewalks aren’t shovel properly.

“I love to walk in the city,” mentioned Bennett during the meeting, “But there’s nothing worse than having to walk on ice and snow that hasn’t been cleared away. It’s dangerous!”

According to City Code, following a snowfall, sidewalks must be cleared by 6 p.m. the following day. However, in the event of a continuous long-term snowfall, removal shall occur on a minimum of twenty-four-hour intervals.

While this may solve the problem in some places, there are others who refuse or may be unable to shovel.

One apartment resident in the city of Cortland says, “I refuse to pay for a shovel for my entire building. That’s my landlord’s job to provide us with one.” 

Some other residents around the city may be unable to shovel due to disabilities or no time to do it during the day.

The dangers rise for those who use these sidewalks as they are unable to navigate through the pile of snow that’s in the way. Often enough, people are forced to walk on the sides of the roads and are at risk of getting in the way of traffic. Some may still brave the walk through the snow but are also at risk of slipping on the ice under the snow.  

Also, those who are disabled have trouble with this inconvenience as most of the time they can’t make it up the curb cut to get onto the sidewalk

“I walk around the city a lot to get to where I need to go, usually from my residence at the College Suites to Main Street,” explained Jasmine Jordan, a student at SUNY Cortland. “My walk takes a longer time than usual if there’s a lot of snow on the sidewalks. I even wind up tripping and falling on ice when I sometimes walk.”

It’s important for residents and business owners to provide a place for walkers or those with disabilities to get to and from their destinations.