Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

...or trying to.

I rather like walking in the snow. I think snow is beautiful although it seems many of my friends do not care for it. I know they have their reasons and perhaps I might change my mind in time... or maybe I just have too many good memories of it.

(image to right from Image*After)

Unfortunately -- though when young I used to shovel our walks within 24 hours of every snowfall back when I lived in a city where snow actually came every winter -- here folk don't seem to care much about whether their walks are cleared of snow and ice regardless of municipal bylaw or the convenience of passersby. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that here it snows only for a week or three a year and that the snow most often disappears on its own a day or three after the fall. Sometimes the snow lingers and even when it doesn't it can be a very large problem for some folk.

There are folk who are quite fine travelling on foot on good dry pavement and sidewalks that find ice and snow to be an effective barrier for them even on journeys of a block. Some might have nearly invisible mobility issues like balance problems or coordination problems that you'd never note. They might never even use a cane. Others might use walkers or scooters which are stymied by nearly any level of snow or ice. Some scooters are better at handling it than others in case you are recalling seeing folk using scooters on snowy sidewalks.

(image to left from Image*After)

I know of some people who have artificial legs who can not walk on ice and snow and whose wheelchairs can not navigate it either. They go from independence to requiring special transit either by "Handidart" or specially equipped taxi.

You can't blame all the folk who don't clear their walks...

I often come across a nasty situation where the city and highways departments plough the roads and the icy half melted snow is left on the sidewalks and shoulders of the roads creating near glacial coverage as the dumped ice and snow hardens. It is almost like concrete and probably nearly impossible to shovel without a small tractor. It is also very hard to walk on because of its rough nature and tendency to have hard crust over softer under-layers -- difficult to walk on for able bodied folk, impossible for less able bodied, nearly impossible for a home owner to remove.

(Image to right from Image*After)

I can't really think of a solution for it all. For those places where the city or highways department ploughs the road, perhaps they should be less exuberant and take care not to cover the sidewalks or to provide a service to use municipal or highways equipment to clear the sidewalks. For other sidewalks... well there should be some way to get folk to actually clear their walks. Perhaps if someone actually followed through with one of those small city tractors and cleared the uncleared walks for a special price which would be outlined in a bylaw?

I really don't think people should be trapped in their homes because of inconsideration.

~ Darrell


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