Cataloging the various failures to remove snow in the walking/transit/bicycling city
This week's snow wasn't all that, although because it came down just before and during Tuesday's morning rush, it was problematic, especially because, at least in my part of DC, it didn't appear as if there was any "pre-treating" or "salting" of the roads in advance of the snow.
The cold we are experiencing following the snow is worse--e.g., Metrorail had problems with cracked rails and other incidents--and although it's not all that frequent, it reminds me that some bus shelters in Minneapolis have heaters ("Heated shelters offer some relief for transit riders," Minnesota Public Radio News).
Plus I learned that the bus shelters in Fort McMurray, Alberta are fully enclosed and heated. There it gets to 40 degrees below zero.
But the aftermath of the snow reminds me of my main pet peeves when it comes to dealing with snow and sidewalks. (Also see "A reminder about winter-time conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.") And it's worth cataloging the faults.
1. Yes, the perennial, some people don't shovel their walks. At least on my block this seems to be declining but it's still a problem here and there.
2. Some people shovel a lane in the sidewalk, but not the entire walk. This means that people can't walk side-by-side or past each other going in different directions, without stepping aside or walking in the ice and snow.
3. People who live on corner properties often don't shovel the walk on the side of their house, even if they do shovel the front of their house, so they can get in and out unimpeded.
This house didn't shovel along the side of the house and neglected to shovel the corners of the sidewalk up to the street. They also didn't even bother to shovel all of the front sidewalk, just enough to get to their driveway and a little past. This house is along a major walk to school route.
4. People who live next to alleys often don't shovel the sidewalk across the alley.
5. People who live at corners often don't shovel the sidewalk corners all the way to the street.
6. People who live next to bus stops don't shovel the bus stop. Each jurisdiction, in this case DC government, not WMATA, technically is responsible for bus stop maintenance.
Note that fortunately, bus stops with shelters are maintained as part of the contract with the advertising firm that operates bus shelters.
Kansas Avenue NW, northeast of Sherman Circle.
7. The city doesn't remove snow from its properties.
Pocket park at 4th Street and Blair Road NW.
8. Or if certain city properties do make the effort to remove snow, they don't always have the right equipment.
Dirt and grass upended by snow removal and deposited in a crosswalk at Van Buren and 3rd Streets NW
Probably a snow brush would work better on 5 foot wide sidewalks than a scraper, especially if the plow is wider than the sidewalk.
9. The Federal Government, such as the National Park Service, doesn't remove snow from its properties.
Sherman Circle is an NPS installation. It's about one block from a school and along the walking route to Georgia Avenue and the Petworth Metro Station. (Lighting was added after someone was robbed and murdered a few years ago.)
10. Commercial property owners and retailers don't think about other properties "in their district," which might not be tended to, so customers are forced to walk across snow and ice, along with the corner and alley issues.
Upshur Street NW commercial district, Petworth.
11. Last but not least, failure to remove snow from bike lanes.
3rd Street NW