Who’s Responsible for Cleaning Treasure Valley Sidewalks?
When I saw this post in the Boise Bench Dwellers Facebook Group, I immediately yelled "AMEN, SISTER!" and wanted to give Amanda C. a high five through my laptop.
Her original post was pretty simple:
To the able-bodied people: This winter runner does not appreciate all the not shoveled sidewalks... #shovelyosidewalks #endrant
She basically took the words out of my mouth. Similar thoughts went through my head as I bundled up for a run of my own, yesterday afternoon. There's only so many days that a runner can endure on the treadmill before itching to get back outside. For some reason, even though the snow fell nine days ago, the residential sidewalks on my normal route around my neighborhood are still an icy death trap. Living close to a high school, where quite a few students walk to, I really did expect them to be better.
Since I'm 100% on Amanda's side, I started to read through the comments to reaffirm that we weren't alone in feeling that way. I was so disappointed with the comments I read:
"I love shoveling the sidewalk just for the plow to come down and spray it back on the sidewalk. No thanks not anymore" -Demitra S.
"If you want it shoveled...you can bring one and do it yourself." -Lindsey W.
"I think shoveling sidewalks is better exercise than running. Maybe you should shovel your route." -Louisa C.
"To the winter people joggers, take up cross country skiing or run on a treadmill." -James B.
"Literally my biggest pet peeve is people who run early morning in winter and b!#$ about unshoveled sidewalks. Go run in the f$#&ing street if you have to run so bad" -Nate W.
That last one sent me over the edge and motivated to write this post in the first place. Are you actually asking your neighbors to put themselves in harm's way instead of the walkways that were literally created for them...the pedestrian...because you can't be bothered to fulfill your responsibility as a homeowner? Do you understand how insane that sounds? Let's not forget that despite our best efforts to be seen in bright, reflective clothing and a variety of lighting techniques including vests and headlamps, there's a good amount of drivers who aren't looking for runners in the road. If I had $1 for the amount of times that I've almost been hit even while following all the recommended safety practices for runners in the past 17 years, I could've retired early and bought some lake front property in McCall by now.
Oh...and to those who made the friendly suggestion to go run at a high school track instead, have you actually looked at the tracks near your home? High School Track and Field isn't currently in season and the schools aren't clearing these. Timberline's is completely snow covered right now. I checked because I thought that could've been a safer option.
Rather you'd like to admit it or not, YOU, the able-bodied property owner are legally responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of your home. If you are disabled in a way where you cannot shovel your walkways, there's probably a neighbor near by willing to pitch in and clear your walkways for you. I'm sure your excuse that you just didn't bother shoveling because a snow plow was going to come through and throw snow back on the walkway again won't hold up if you get cited or charged with a misdemeanor for obstructing a sidewalk.
Secetion 9-08-07 of the Boise City Ordinance flat out says:
Every owner of any building or vacant lot, and every personhaving the charge of any church, jail or public building in thisCity shall during the time snow shall be on the ground by 9:00a.m. every morning, when necessary, clear the sidewalks andgutters in front of his property from snow, and keepconveniently free there from during the day, so as to allowcitizens to use the sidewalks in an easy, safe and commodiousmanner, and every person neglecting or refusing to comply withthe provisions of this Section shall be deemed guilty of amisdemeanor.