Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow covered sidewalks

With many new faces soon to populate the mayor's office and the City-County Council chambers much debate will surely center on what policies need to be addressed regarding property taxes, crime, economic development, etc. in order to take the city in the right direction in the coming years.

However, on my walk to work a week ago Thursday (6-Dec-07) morning, I couldn't help but think that we are still missing the basics. Twenty-four hours after the snow had stopped falling, 80-90% of the sidewalks along my 1.5-mile walk into and through downtown had not been cleared. The citizens of Indianapolis need to get off their rears and make an effort to keep the sidewalks passable for those who either choose, or have no choice but to walk to get to their destinations.

Why is this tolerated? It doesn't happen in other cold weather cities where I've lived or visited. Perhaps, the culture needs to change from one where those who walk are viewed as second-class citizens who don't merit the effort it takes to clear the sidewalk. When did this happen? Surely, there was a time when Hoosiers saw the value in walking. Is it any wonder that Indianapolis consistently ranks near the top of obesity rankings, and are nowhere to be found on the lists of cities rated with the highest quality of life.

We should all strive to be able to again go out our front door and safely walk to our neighborhood school, church, park, convenience store, bus stop, etc. Not only does it seem like common sense, it's clear that the type of environment that is sought by young educated professionals, which the "brain drain" continually indicates our state is lacking, is a city that provides first-rate recreational and leisure opportunities. What is more basic to recreation and leisure than a system of usable sidewalks.

The first admonishment should be assessed to the individual property owners whom are not fulfilling their obligation to clear the sidewalks adjacent to their lots, but let us not forget the government's important role to play in enforcing the city code that requires such action by its citizenry. Clearly, the latter is not happening, which is enabling the former.


bhorg said...

I'm with you 100% on this. So annoying!

I clear the sidewalk in front of my house as well as my elderly neighbor and even the empty (in the middle of rehab) house next door.

Idyllic Indy said...

Kudos to you "bhorg". If we could get enough people to clear their walks, the remainder might be guilted into doing it as well.